Japan Begins Troop Withdrawals from Iraq

Japan has begun withdrawing its troops from Iraq.

The first group of about 30 soldiers left Iraq Friday, on their way to neighboring Kuwait.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said last month that Japan's 600 non-combat troops had fulfilled their humanitarian assignment and would leave Iraq.

Mr. Koizumi has supported the U.S. policy in Iraq. But a vast majority of Japanese oppose the deployment of their troops.

Japan's air force will remain active in Iraq, transporting goods and personnel for the U.S.-led coalition.

No Japanese troops have been hurt in Iraq, but insurgents have killed six Japanese citizens, including two diplomats.