Japan in Iraq

Colonel Masahisa Sato has served as a peacekeeper before, in the Golan Heights in 1996. That was under a U.N. command. But now, Sato, 43, leads the advance team of Japan's Self-Defense Forces in Iraq. TIME's Phil Zabriskie asked Sato about his mission to provide humanitarian services in and around the dusty southern town of Samawah. TIME: Is this a historic mission for the Japanese army?
Sato: I think so. It is not our first overseas mission. We sent contingents to Cambodia, Mozambique and East Timor, too. But this is the first time we have no U.N....

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