Report: Japan plans to extend air mission in Iraq

The Japanese government is planning to extend its military air mission in Iraq until next July when the law authorizing the current mission expires later this year, a news report said Tuesday. Japan sent about 600 troops to Iraq in support of the U.S.-led coalition in 2004. A special law was required to authorize the deployment - Japan's largest military mission since World War II - because the country's post-World War II pacifist Constitution bans it from using force to settle international disputes. The government is now considering extending the operation until July 31, the Yomiuri newspaper said.