Japanese army delays troop withdrawal from Iraq

Top Japanese officials delayed a decision Monday on when to withdraw Tokyo's troops from southern Iraq pending the transfer of security in the region to Iraqi authorities, Kyodo News agency reported. Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Aso, Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe and Defense chief Fukushiro Nukaga met Monday morning to discuss Iraq amid rising speculation that Tokyo will soon announce a withdrawal of its 600 troops. Kyodo said the group agreed a decision on the timing of a withdrawal would have to wait for Iraqi moves to take over security responsibilities in the area from the British.