Yukio Okamoto, diplomatic adviser to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, left Saturday for Iraq to look into how Japan can contribute to reconstruction efforts there.

Okamoto, special adviser in the Cabinet Secretariat, plans to stay in Iraq for seven to 10 days to meet officials of the Coalition Provisional Authority, which governs the country, to gather information about the political and security situation.

He told reporters Friday he will stay in Baghdad and its vicinity to determine the economic and humanitarian assistance the war-torn country needs from Japan.

Tokyo plans to dispatch a larger fact-finding mission to Iraq after Okamoto returns, government officials said.

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