Japan approves extending Iraq air force mission

The Japanese Cabinet approved a two-year extension of Japan's air force mission in Iraq after it expires in July, the foreign minister announced Friday. Tokyo has been airlifting UN and coalition personnel and supplies into Baghdad and other Iraqi cities from nearby Kuwait since earlier last year as part of efforts to support reconstruction in Iraq. The mission is set to end July 31. "A two-year extension is necessary to continue stable airlifting support," because Iraq's reconstruction has not been completely achieved, Foreign Minister Taro Aso said in a statement after the Cabinet approved the plan.