About 77 percent of Japanese are opposed to extending their country's humanitarian mission to Iraq, more than four times the 18% who support an extension, a newspaper poll published Monday said.
The survey by the Mainichi Shimbun also found that Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's approval rating had climbed 5 points from a previous poll conducted shortly before general elections last month, to 56%, despite recent reports that he intends to extend the Iraqi mission.
Japan has about 550 non-combat troops in the southern Iraqi city of Samawah who are purifying water, rebuilding schools and conducting other humanitarian tasks as part of US-led reconstruction efforts in the country. Japan's mission expires on Dec. 14, but the government has not formally announced a decision to extend it.
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