• Staff report

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The visiting governor of Al-Muthanna Province in southern Iraq expressed hope Monday that Japan will start building social infrastructure in the region, where Ground Self-Defense Force troops have been deployed on a humanitarian mission.

“We appreciate the aid Japan has given,” Gov. Mohammad Ali-Hassan was quoted as saying in a meeting with Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura. “But if I could hope for more, I think aid for social infrastructure, especially power plants and bridges, is important.”

Ali-Hassan noted that better social infrastructure would stabilize public sentiment and thereby help improve the security situation in the region.

Japan has pledged $5 billion in aid to Iraq, but the security situation there has prevented Tokyo from sending civilian officials to assess local needs, a process required before deciding on large-scale infrastructure projects.

Japan has so far focused on restoring war-damaged facilities and supplying vehicles, including police cars and water-supply trucks.

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