RealNews

First Japanese Soldiers Leave for Iraq

A team of Japanese soldiers left for Iraq on Friday as police, on alert for terrorist attacks, tightened security ahead of what may become Japan’s riskiest overseas military mission since World War II. After a series of send-off ceremonies in Tokyo, about 30 members of the Ground Self-Defense Force, as Japan’s army is called, left for southeastern Iraq, an advance unit of a force that could include up to 1,000 troops. “You’re the pride of the Japanese people, the pride of the nation. I hope that you will complete your mission safely,” Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba, at times appearing almost overcome by emotion, told 180 soldiers — including those leaving on Friday and others to join them later. Full Story

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