Japan on Friday took another step closer to deploying troops in Iraq, with Defense Agency chief Shigeru Ishiba issuing an order for the dispatch of an advance team of Ground Self-Defense Force personnel.

Ishiba also ordered the dispatch of the main contingent of an Air Self-Defense Force unit, including C-130 transport planes, to carry out airlift missions between Kuwait and Iraq. An advance ASDF team is already operating in Kuwait and Qatar.

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