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Japan to pull military from Iraq by year's end

  • Story Highlights
  • Japan's PM Taro Aso says democracy has steadily developed in Iraq
  • He also notes security has improved
  • The ASDF, Japan's aviation wing, has flown between Baghdad and southern Iraq
  • The unit has conducted 810 flights, transporting 46,000 people and 670 tons of cargo
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TOKYO, Japan (CNN) -- Japan will pull its Air Self-Defense Force out of Iraq, part of an effort to withdraw its 210 military personnel from the country by the end of 2008, the prime minister said Friday.

"The government of Japan will complete the mission by the end of the year, based on the judgment that the objectives of the ASDF mission have now been fulfilled," the prime minister said in a statement.

Aso said there has been steady development in the democratic process and security has improved.

The ASDF, Japan's aviation wing of its military, has conducted 810 flights, transporting 46,000 passengers and 670 tons of cargo in missions between Baghdad and southern Iraq, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

CNN's Kyung Lah contributed to this report

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