Saturday, May 20, 2006

Japan 'looks at June Iraq withdrawal'

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan may begin withdrawing its noncombat troops from southern Iraq as early as next month, winding down the country's riskiest mission since World War Two, a newspaper reported on Saturday.

Government sources quoted by the Yomiuri Shimbun daily said the Japanese government has begun making arrangements with the governments of Britain and Australia, aiming at a decision on the withdrawal as early as next month.

The withdrawal could begin soon after, and finish as early as the end of July, they added.

Japan's depatch of troops to Iraq from January 2004 has won praise from Washington but is opposed by a majority of voters.

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