TOKYO, May 3 (UPI) -- Japan is planning to withdraw its troops from Iraq.
Japan's Defense Agency Director General Fukushiro Nukaga officially informed the Bush administration Monday that Japan would withdraw its ground troops when British and Australian forces withdraw their forces from Iraq.
Nukaga said, "The foundation for reconstruction in Muthana has been completed to a certain extent. If conditions allow, we want to end the Ground Self-Defense Force mission together with British and Australian troops. We will make our judgment through consultations with the United States, Britain, Australia and other related concerns."
Kyodo news agency reported on May 2 that Nukaga made his remarks during a meeting of top U.S. and Japanese officials, but noted that Japan intends to keep its Air Self-Defense Force unit in Kuwait to continue airlifting supplies to Iraq aboard C-130 transports.
There are currently about 600 Japanese GSDF troops deployed in Samawah in Muthana province engaged in civil reconstruction and humanitarian operations. The GSDF troops are protected by British and Australian troops.