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Japanese Defense Minister: Troops Will Remain in Iraq - 2004-04-20


Japan's defense minister says Tokyo will keep its troops in Iraq, despite Spain's decision to withdraw its forces from the war-torn country.

Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba told reporters today (Tuesday) that Spain's decision will not result in a change in Japanese policy. He said Tokyo is committed to help in reconstruction and aid activities in Iraq.

Meanwhile, the final two Japanese hostages released in Iraq last week have returned to their home country.

Journalist Jumpei Yasuda and activist Nobutaka Watanabe arrived in Tokyo today (Tuesday) on a flight from Jordan.

The two said they were abducted by several armed Iraqis near the city of Fallujah. They were held for four days before being released at a Baghdad mosque Saturday.

Three other Japanese who had been held hostage in Iraq returned home Sunday.

Information for this story is provided by Reuters.

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