Japan announces decision to pull out troops from Iraq
www.chinaview.cn 2006-06-20 13:19:51

 
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi announced Tuesday at a press conference that Japan has decided to withdraw the Ground Self-Defense Force troops from Iraq, Kyodo News reported.
Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi speaks during a news conference at his official residence in Tokyo June 20, 2006. (Xinhua/Reuters photo)
    TOKYO, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi announced Tuesday at a press conference that Japan has decided to withdraw the Ground Self-Defense Force troops from Iraq, Kyodo News reported.

    Koizumi talked about the plan on Tuesday morning with leaders of the ruling coalition and opposition parties shortly before the announcement. He described the Iraq mission as "a chapter has been finished," a government source was quoted as saying.

    Japanese Defense Agency Director General Fukushiro Nukaga issued an order to withdraw the troops right after the premier left the press conference.

    Japanese government officials indicated that the pullout may begin later this month and be completed by the end of July.

    The move is said to be a response to an announcement by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who said on Monday that Iraqi forces will take over the security task in July in Muthana Province, where the Japanese troops have been stationed.

    However, the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force will continue to stay in Iraq to provide assistance to the United Nations' reconstruction efforts, Kyodo said.

    Koizumi said at a press conference on Monday that Japan will continue to help the Iraqi people even after the ground troops are pulled out.

    Japan has stationed some 600 Ground Self-Defense Forces troops in the southern Iraqi city of Samawah, capital of Muthana Province, for a non-combat medical, reconstruction and humanitarian mission as part of the U.S.-led multinational force since early 2004. Enditem


Editor: Liu Dan
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