Seoul and Tokyo’s delay in sending troops to join the coalition’s efforts in Iraq came as US Defence Secretary said that coalition forces are likely to stay on in the country after power is handed back to Iraqis, even if that is sooner than expected. ‘It does not mean we would physically leave the country any sooner,’ he told soldiers at the US military base on Guam. ‘What it means is the Iraqis would begin to take on a greater portion of responsibility for governing themselves sooner.’