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SDF logs cast doubt over legality of Japan's Iraq mission

Newly disclosed records show forces faced dangerous conditions on the ground

Members of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces speak with locals in Samawah, Iraq, in May 2005. The decision to send troops to Iraq was and remains extremely controversial in Japan.   © Kyodo

TOKYO -- The Japanese Defense Ministry has released part of the Ground Self-Defense Force's activity logs during its mission in Iraq between 2004 and 2006, which are calling into question whether the troops fell within legal requirements to stay in "noncombat" zones.

The ministry on Monday disclosed entries from 435 different days totaling 14,929 pages. The documents were previously believed to have been destroyed, but were recently discovered to have been in the possession of a GSDF unit all along.

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