Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said the 600 non-combat troops - deployed in early 2004 - had helped rebuild the infrastructure of the area where they were based, and he pledged further aid to Iraqi reconstruction, according to the AP.
The withdrawal was decided in consultation with the United States and other allies, Koizumi said. Defense chief Fukushiro Nukaga told reporters earlier in the day that the pullout would take "several dozen days."
Koizumi has been a vocal supporter of U.S. policy in Iraq, arguing that the dispatch was needed to aid reconstruction, secure oil supplies and bolster ties with Washington. He is to travel to Washington for a summit with President George W. Bush the last week in June, before stepping down in September.