• Kyodo

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Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Sunday that Japan will continue to help rebuild Iraq after the Self-Defense Forces are pulled out of the war-battered country, but he gave no specific time frame for the withdrawal.

Speaking to reporters during a visit to Ishikawa Prefecture, Koizumi also welcomed the launch Saturday of Iraq’s new national unity government under Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

On when Ground Self-Defense Force troops will withdraw from the southern Iraqi city of Samawah, Koizumi said the government will decide the matter “comprehensively.”

The comment came as some media reported that the GSDF might begin pulling out as early as next month.

Japan “will continue humanitarian support and reconstruction assistance,” he added. “Even after the SDF leaves Samawah, there will be other things” to do to help Iraq.

The country “still needs more time to establish a stable democratic administration,” Koizumi said.