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Asia-Pacific
Japan 'ends Afghanistan mission'
Japanese naval tankers reported to have ended military support mission.
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2007 04:39 GMT
Washington has been urging Japan to
extend its support mission [GALLO/GETTY]

Japanese naval tankers have carried out what is reported to be their last refuelling operation in support of US-led operations in Afghanistan.

 

The move effectively ends Japan's military support for the war in Afghanistan, a defence official told the Associated Press.

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The unnamed official said tankers had refuelled a coalition warship in the Indian Ocean on Monday and did not plan to carry out any further operations before the government's mandate expires on November 1.

The last ship refuelled by the Japanese support mission was a Pakistani navy destroyer, Japan's Kyodo News agency reported.

 

As they carried out the final operation about 70 crew members from the supply ship Tokiwa appeared on deck, cheering and singing the Japanese national anthem, Kyodo said.

 

Japan is the top US ally in Asia and has refuelled coalition warships in support of US-led forces in Afghanistan since 2001.

 

Washington has been urging the Japanese government to extend the mission.

 

Yusuo Fukuda, the prime minister appointed last month, has said getting an extension to the mission through parliament is a top priority, but he faces strong opposition.

 

Japan's so-called pacifist constitution forbids its armed forces from carrying out anything but defensive missions, but the government has been trying to revise legislation allowing for a more active defence policy.

Source:
Agencies
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