Japan revises Iraqi plan to step up airlifts, eliminate ground troops

August 5th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Japan revises Iraqi plan to step up airlifts, eliminate ground troops

TOKYO - Japan, which withdrew its ground forces from Iraq last month,
formally revised its Iraqi policy Friday to end any use of ground troops and
instead step up its airlifts there.

Japan had based about 600 troops in the southern Iraqi city of Samawah for 2
1/2 years to carry out humanitarian projects. But the troops were withdrawn
last month and Japan has since been reassessing its military mission in the

Under the revision, approved at a Cabinet meeting, the Iraqi cities of Talil
and Arbil were added to the list of towns supplied by Japanese airlifts from
Kuwait, Cabinet Office official Nobuyasu Inoue said.

The list currently includes Baghdad, Basra, Mosul and Balad, and the
expansion was made at the request of the United Nations.

Japan also deleted references in the plan to the dispatch of ground troops
to Iraq.

The decision comes a day after Foreign Minister Taro Aso made a surprise
visit to Baghdad, bringing with him a 3.5 billion yen (US$29 million; ?23
million) loan to jump-start Iraq's economic development.

Aso was the first Japanese minister to visit the Iraqi capital since the
U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

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