June 21, 2006

Japanese bid sayonara, Iraq:
Japan deployed about 600 troops to Iraq in January 2004, but because of the country's pacifist constitution they were prevented from taking a combat role. As a result, the contingent was stationed in an isolated camp on the outskirts of the southern city of Samawah where, protected first by Dutch and then Australian troops, they rebuilt roads and schools.

Even though there were no casualties involving Japanese soldiers, the deployment was unpopular in Japan, where support for the US-led war has not been strong. The deployment, authorised by a special act of parliament, was also the first time since World War II that Japanese troops had been deployed in roles other than as peacekeepers.
By sheer bloody coincidence, the Japanese have simultaneously agreed to lift their ban on American beef.


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