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When Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi voiced his unequivocal support of the U.S.-led war on Iraq in March, he was left with little choice but to commit Self-Defense Forces troops to the country’s postwar reconstruction effort.

The Diet then passed a special law in July to allow the SDF dispatch to Iraq, and when U.S. President George W. Bush visited Tokyo in October, Koizumi assured him that Japan will do all it can — and troops will put their “boots on the ground” in Iraq as requested by Washington.

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