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Japan to Pull Out of Search for Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet

“There will be an order to end the operation,” Japan's defense minister says.

Japan is to pull out of the hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight, the country's defense minister said Monday.

“With regards to the mission, later today, there will be an order to end the operation,” Itsunori Onodera said as he visited with Japanese air crews in the western Australian city of Perth, where the search is being coordinated from.

“It is unfortunate that the plane has not been found but we feel that it was significant that we were able to actively support the international search and rescue operation,” he added.

The visit came just hours after Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott admitted wreckage from missing MH370 may never been found. Officials also announced a new phase of the search would focus on a larger area of the Indian Ocean's floor.

- Henry Austin