Japan will open a consulate in Arbil, Iraq, so that it can better protect Japanese citizens in the country, a government official said Feb. 22, Kyodo News reported. The move comes after the Islamic State executed two Japanese nationals last week. Japan will also increase its financial aid to the Kurdish region by providing loans for infrastructure improvement. The country will also send defense attaches to Middle Eastern countries to improve its intelligence gathering capabilities. The moves come as Japan seeks to become more active in foreign affairs.