• Kyodo News

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Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko met Thursday with about 160 Self-Defense Forces members who had tours of duty to the Indian Ocean or Iraq to provide logistics support to the U.S.-led war on terrorism and Iraq’s reconstruction.

It was the first time Imperial Couple had met with personnel from the Ground, Maritime and Air Self-Defense Forces who participated in the missions.

About 20 Foreign Ministry officials who were also stationed in the southern Iraq city of Samawah, where the GSDF did reconstruction work, were also received by the Emperor and Empress at the Imperial Palace.

The Emperor and Empress in the past have met with SDF members who had been on international disaster relief or United Nations-led peacekeeping missions.

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