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    Discussions commence on extending Japanese military presence in Iraq

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    TOKYO, July 19 (RIA Novosti, Andrei Fesyun) - Japan has begun informal discussions on extending the length of service of its military personnel in Iraq, Japanese public broadcaster NHK said Tuesday. The discussions comprise officials from Japan's government, defense agency, foreign ministry, and parliamentary committee on security. The Japanese Naval group's term of duty in the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea, determined by the parliament, ends in November this year.

    The group's main task is to refuel naval ships that conduct military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Japan also has 550 servicemen stationed in the southern Iraqi city of Samava on a humanitarian mission to help with the rebuilding of the Mutanna province's infrastructure.

    NHK said the government would most likely decide to extend the term of duty of its military personnel stationed in the region.

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