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 Japan extends airlift mission in Iraq by 2 years

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PostSubject: Japan extends airlift mission in Iraq by 2 years   Wed 20 Jun - 4:14

Japan's Parliament has passed a bill extending the current mission of the Air Self-Defense Force in Iraq for two years, to July 2009.

The bill was carried through the Upper House on a majority vote of the ruling coalition parties on Wednesday, ahead of expiry at the end of July of a law authorizing the airlift mission.

In March 2004, Air Self-Defense Force aircraft, based in Kuwait, started ferrying reconstruction materials to southern Iraq where Japanese ground troops were operating.

Since August last year, the Japanese cargo planes have expanded their activities to Baghdad, and further north to Arbil, flying 518 sorties as of last Thursday.

The government expects to win cabinet approval next month for a one-year extension of the basic plan outlining Self-Defense Force activities in Iraq.

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