Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Japan pulls troops out of Iraq

From BBC Online

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has announced plans to withdraw his country's troops from Iraq. The Japanese troops have been based in the city of Samawa, engaged in work such as repairing buildings and providing medical training. Japanese media reports said the last troops were expected to leave by late July.

No Japanese soldiers have been killed or wounded in Iraq, but Mr Koizumi faced a political crisis in 2004 when three aid workers were taken hostage by Iraqi insurgents, who demanded that Japanese troops withdraw. The three were eventually released unharmed, but another five Japanese citizens have been killed by militants.

Mr Koizumi is due to visit President Bush at the end of this month. He is due to leave office later this year.