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U.S. Ambassador Howard Baker on Wednesday indirectly asked Japan to send Self-Defense Force troops to Iraq to help rebuild the war-ravaged country.

“It is entirely up to Japan” to decide on the form of its contribution for Iraq’s rehabilitation, “but I believe Japan is committed to full participation in the efforts to restore not only stability but rehabilitation of Iraq,” Baker told reporters after a meeting with Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi.

Baker commended Japan for agreeing to send SDF troops to Iraq, saying it is an important contribution, but expressed hope that the plan will move forward.

Baker said he also discussed with Kawaguchi Japan’s possible financial contribution for Iraq’s rehabilitation, although he did not elaborate.

The United States is reportedly displeased with the uncertainty surrounding the dispatch of SDF personnel to Iraq. Japan plans to delay any dispatch until next year, citing worsening security situation in Iraq.

Kawaguchi told Baker that Japan’s commitment is unshakable. She said Japan will decide on the dispatch after examining the results of a fact-finding mission sent to Iraq, Japanese officials said.

The officials said Kawaguchi and Baker exchanged views on a variety of issues, including the recent ministerial meeting in Cancun, Mexico, of the World Trade Organization.

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