Col. Koichiro Bansho, who is to command the Ground Self-Defense Force in its reconstruction aid activities in the southern Iraqi city of Samawah, is credited with a cool head and quick thinking in combat drills.

Bansho, 46, was given a flag for the mission from Defense Agency Director General Shigeru Ishiba in a sendoff ceremony Sunday in Asahikawa, Hokkaido, where most of the GSDF troops going on the mission are posted.

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