Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi was set to announce a withdrawal of Japan's troops from Iraq on Tuesday, following Iraq's decision to take over security next month in the city where they are based, media reports said.
Japan has about 600 troops in the city of Samawah in Muthana province on a humanitarian, non-combat mission since early 2004 in its biggest dispatch since the end of World War II.
Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced on Monday that Iraqi forces would take over security next month in Muthana, opening the way for the eventual withdrawal of foreign troops.
All major Japanese newspapers reported on Tuesday morning that Koizumi would announce Japan's troop withdrawal after meeting with ruling and opposition party leaders to obtain consent, followed by a final decision by the government's national security meeting.
Defence Chief Fukushiro Nukaga will then issue an order for the withdrawal to begin later on Tuesday, for a planned completion by the end of July, the Yomiuri newspaper reported.
The Prime Minister's Office declined to confirm the reports.
Koizumi said in a televised news conference on Monday that he wanted the withdrawal to be smooth and coordinated with Iraqi authorities. He also said Japan would continue to provide support for Iraq after the withdrawal.