• Kyodo

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A contingent of Ground Self-Defense Force troops arrived Friday in the southern Iraq city of Samawah, where they are to carry out reconstruction work, traveling overland from a U.S. military base in Kuwait.

The convoy of about 30 vehicles, including light armored vehicles mounted with automatic rifles, carried most of the 140-member core unit that arrived in Kuwait on Sunday. The unit engaged in shooting practice at the U.S. Army’s Camp Virginia in western Kuwait.

The troops are being sent to Iraq under a special law to assist in the rebuilding of the country that the Diet enacted last July.

About 100 GSDF troops are already in Samawah, including an advance team that arrived in mid-January and others who arrived earlier this month.

Japan plans to send two more batches of ground troops to Iraq in March, bringing to about 550 the number deployed to Samawah to repair local infrastructure and provide water and medical services.

More police cars

The number of police cars to be given to Iraq under Japanese grants for the country’s reconstruction will increase to 1,150 from the initially planned 620, the Foreign Ministry said Friday.

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