19.6.06

Japan set to announce Iraq troop withdrawal

Japan set to announce Iraq troop withdrawa:

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will announce later on Tuesday a plan to withdraw Japan's troops from Iraq, media reported, ending the military's riskiest and most ambitious international mission since World War Two.

An announcement would come after Iraq's prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, said on Monday his forces would take over security in July in the southern province of Muthanna, where the British oversee a multinational contingent that includes Japanese troops.

Media reports said the withdrawal of the non-combat troops, to be announced formally by Koizumi at a news conference, would begin as early as this month.

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