The government is sending Yukio Okamoto, a foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, to Iraq on Saturday to check security conditions and determine how the Self-Defense Forces can contribute to rebuilding the country.

Okamoto was to be dispatched last month, but the mission was postponed due to worsened security conditions, such as the bombing of the United Nations’ headquarters in Baghdad.

“I would like to see what kind of humanitarian assistance we can offer and check other conditions, including the political and security situations,” Okamoto said Friday.

Okamoto’s trip, which will last a week to 10 days, will be separate from a large-scale mission the government plans to send later to determine the SDF’s specific tasks and areas of operation, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said.

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