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UPDATED: 11:33, March 20, 2007
Japan pledges support for Iraq's reconstruction
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Japan's top government spokesman said Tuesday that Japan will continue support the reconstruction of Iraq, on the fourth anniversary of war in Iraq.

"Efforts are being made steadfastly toward the building of a new country by the Iraqis themselves," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki said at a news conference. "Japan will continue its active support to help the Iraqi people rebuild Iraq," he said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters on Monday that Japan hopes Iraq can obtain peace and stability as soon as possible.

Abe was quoted as saying by Jiji Press that he was concerned with the deepening conflicts between religious factions. He said that Japan will work with the international community to help reconstructing Iraq and realizing a safer Middle East.

Despite controversy under Japan's pacifist Constitution, Japan sent ground and air troops to Iraq on an aid mission, in Japan's first postwar overseas deployment to a country where combat continued.

Some 600 troops of the Ground Self-Defense Force stationed in Samawah, southern Iraq from early 2004 till last summer. Japan's Air Self-Defense Force troops remain and continue to provide airlifting transportation between Kuwait and Iraq to the U.S.-led coalition.

Source: Xinhua

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