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Japan Provides Iraq With 655 Million in Loans for Infrastructure Projects


Japan says it will provide Iraq with $655 million in loans for port reconstruction and other infrastructure projects.

Japan's foreign ministry said Tuesday the loans will be used to help reconstruct the port of Umm Qasr and repair a thermal power plant near Baghdad. It said the funds would also be used for irrigation projects.

The infrastructure loans are part of $3.5 billion in lending that Japan pledged at a 2003 Iraq donors conference in Madrid.

Japan has around 600 non-combat troops in the southern Iraqi city of Samawa. In December, the Cabinet approved an extension of the troop's mission for up to one year.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has not said whether the troops would remain the entire year, but reports from Japan have said Tokyo may consider withdrawing them sooner.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP .
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