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    Iraqi prime minister to visit Japan

    The Iraqi Prime Minister will visit Japan on 5 December:

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on 1 December that Prime Minister of Iraq [Ibrahim] al-Jaafari is scheduled for a two-day visit to Japan, beginning 2 December, during which he will meet with Prime Minister Jun’ichiro Koizumi. It is al-Jaafari’s first visit to Japan. He is expected to request once again that the deployment of SDF personnel in Iraq be extended. His visit is at Japan’s invitation, and [he and Japanese officials] will exchange views about the status of Iraq’s reconstruction and support [Japan can offer] from here forward.

    This is about the fiftieth time we’ve seen news that the extension of the SDF deployment has somehow become official, so perhaps the request next week will just be a face-to-face formality.

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