The government has started studying a plan to pull out Ground Self-Defense Force troops, which are on a humanitarian reconstruction mission in the southern Iraqi city of Samawah, in the first half of next year, sources said Wednesday.
A new Iraqi government is expected to be formed by the end of the year following the election of National Assembly members, provided the new Iraqi constitution is approved in referendum in October. Also, Australian and British troops in charge of security in Samawah plan to withdraw from the city in May.
In response to a U.N. appeal to the world community, the government is set to grant North Korea a total of 70,000 tons of food aid, government and ruling Liberal Democratic Party officials said Saturday.
The officials said the government would offer the aid package through the United Nations as humanitarian assistance, although Pyongyang is calling for bilateral aid from Japan.
Mullah Mohammed Abbas Akhund, acting public health minister for the Taliban in Afghanistan, made a trip to Japan last month at the invitation of the Japanese government.
Speaking in an interview at a Tokyo hotel, he said Taliban supreme leader Maulev Mohammed Omar had been named caliph, or successor to Islam founder Mohammad.
About 23 percent supported unconditional food assistance to the starving communist country, outnumbering 11 percent who opposed such aid.
The survey was conducted on May 20 and 21. The paper contacted 3,000 eligible voters across the nation, 67.6 percent of whom responded.