Japan approves Iraq air force mission extension

Japan's Cabinet on Friday approved plans to extend the nation's air force mission in Iraq through the end of July next year, a top government spokesman said, despite a grim US report on the deteriorating situation in the country. Tokyo has been airlifting UN and coalition personnel and supplies into Baghdad and other Iraqi cities from nearby Kuwait since earlier this year as part of efforts to support reconstruction of Iraq. The Cabinet decision Friday allows an extension of the mission, which ends in mid-December, through July 31 next year, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki said.