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Kyodo news summary -3-.

TOKYO, Nov. 27 Kyodo

---------- Upper house committee approves bill to withdraw ASDF from Iraq

TOKYO - The upper house committee on foreign affairs and defense approved a bill Tuesday to withdraw Japanese Air Self-Defense Force troops from Iraq.

The bill, proposed by the opposition Democratic Party of Japan to terminate the special measures law to support Iraqi reconstruction, will be approved during the House of Councillors plenary session Wednesday.

---------- Military 'forced, steered' Okinawa civilians to commit suicide

TOKYO - Researchers of the 1945 Battle of Okinawa agree that the Japanese military ''forced and steered'' civilians in Okinawa to commit mass suicide during the only full-scale ground battle in Japan during World War II, an authority on modern Japanese history said Tuesday.

Hirofumi Hayashi, professor at Kanto Gakuin University in Yokohama, said he conveyed the view in a statement submitted to the Japanese government's textbook-screening panel, which is considering requests by publishers to reinstate references about the Japanese military's role in forcing civilians to commit mass suicide.

---------- 16 flights canceled due to typhoon approaching Okinawa

NAHA, Japan - Japan TransOcean Air and Ryukyu Air Commuter canceled a total of 16 flights arriving and departing Yonaguni, Hateruma and Tarama islands on Tuesday due to a typhoon approaching the area in Okinawa Prefecture, the airlines said.

The cancellations are expected to affect about 400 passengers.

---------- 5-nation team leaves on N. Korea monitoring trip

BEIJING - Diplomats and nuclear experts from five countries involved in North Korea's denuclearization process left Beijing on Tuesday for a three-day trip to the country aimed at monitoring disablement activities at its key nuclear facilities.

The trip to the Yongbyon nuclear complex by the officials from the United States, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia will mark another step in efforts to push forward a six-party deal intended to cripple North Korea's nuclear programs.

---------- S. Korean presidential election campaign begins

SEOUL - Official campaigning for South Korea's Dec. 19 presidential election began Tuesday, with various opinion polls showing Lee Myung Bak, the conservative candidate from the main opposition Grand National Party, maintaining a lead over other candidates.

Lee, a former Seoul mayor, has commanded around 40 percent support while Lee Hoi Chang, a former GNP chairman and former Supreme Court justice, has garnered about 20 percent support, according to recent media surveys.

---------- Suicide attack kills 2 in Afghanistan's capital

KABUL - At least two people were killed and several others wounded in a suicide bomb attack targeting armored vehicles used by foreigners in Afghanistan's capital Kabul on Tuesday, police and witnesses said.

The blast occurred in the Wazir Akbar Khan area in the center of the city, said Ali Shah Paktiyawal, criminal investigation director of the Kabul police.

---------- 3 Gorges Dam boss denies media reports on environmental catastrophe

BEIJING - A senior Chinese government official overseeing the Three Gorges Dam project on Tuesday denied reports, extensively carried in state-run media, that the scheme could spark an ''environmental catastrophe.''

Wang Xiaofeng, director of the government's Three Gorges Dam construction committee, told reporters the scheme has had little environmental impact and is successfully generating electricity and protecting the Yangtze River from floods.

---------- LDP denies Nukaga was present at dinner with Moriya, trader

TOKYO - The ruling Liberal Democratic Party issued a report on Tuesday concluding that Finance Minister Fukushiro Nukaga was not present at a dinner party last December with scandal-tainted then-Vice Defense Minister Takemasa Moriya and a recently arrested businessman.

''We have concluded that it was impossible,'' LDP Diet affairs chief Tadamori Oshima said at a press conference, releasing the results of the party's probe into Moriya's recent parliamentary testimony, in which he said that Nukaga was present when he had dinner with Motonobu Miyazaki, a former executive of defense equipment trader Yamada Corp., and other parties.

---------- Fukushima secures 3rd term as SDP leader

TOKYO - Social Democratic Party leader Mizuho Fukushima secured her third term as head of the tiny opposition party Tuesday as she was the only one to file candidacy for the SDP's presidential election.

Her new two-year term is scheduled to be formally approved at the party's general convention Dec. 22, SDP members said.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Dec 1, 2007
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