Japan completes troop withdrawal from Iraq

Japan is open to sending peacekeeping troops to Iraq once the security situation improves, the foreign minister said Tuesday, as Tokyo wrapped up a historic military mission to the Mideast country. "I can't foresee at this point when security will improve so we can dispatch a peacekeeping mission," Taro Aso told reporters Tuesday. "But I believe we should consider taking that direction in the future." Aso's remarks came after the last batch of Japanese troops left southern Iraq, ending Japan's biggest and most dangerous overseas mission in recent years. About 220 troops arrived Monday at Kuwait's Ali Al Salem Air Base from Samawah, the provincial capital of Muthanna, on C-130 transport planes, the Defense Agency said in a statement.