Japan hasextended its air support for US-led forces in Iraq by two years to helpreconstruction efforts, the foreign minister says.
The extension after its mission expires on July 31 wasapproved by Japan'scabinet, Taro Aso said on Friday.
Tokyo has been airliftingtroops and supplies into Baghdad and other Iraqicities from Kuwait.
Aso said a "two-year extension is necessary to continuestable airlifting support" because Iraq's reconstruction has not beencompletely achieved.
"International society seeks support for Iraq's reconstruction and that [Japan's continuing support] also serves Japan'snational interest."
Japan, aclose Washington ally, backed the US-ledinvasion of Iraq andprovided ground troops for a non-combat, humanitarian mission in the southernIraqi city of Samawahin 2004.
It withdrew ground troops in July 2006, and has sinceexpanded its Kuwait-based air operations.
The Iraqmission is part of Japan'sbid to boost its international profile.
In October, Tokyo approved aone-year extension of its naval mission in the Indian ocean to support US-ledtroops in Afghanistan.
Critics say the operations violated the country's pacifistconstitution which prohibits the use of force in settling internationaldisputes.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16