Fukuda seeks Afghan mission revival

Japanese premier says Tokyo must continue to back US by refuelling warships.

    Machimura hoped the meeting will see some progress [Reuters]

    Ozawa says he is against the refuelling mission as it is not under a United Nations mandate.

     

    "If this continues, the government's hands will remain tied in all matters of decision-making"

    Nobutaka Machimura, chief cabinet secretary

    But he has said a solution was possible "if we can find common ground over our ideals and principles".

     

    Limited role

     

    Fukuda, who took over as prime minister in September, said Tokyo must continue to back Washington or risk being sidelined in its so-called "war on terror".

     

    As a compromise, the government proposed scaling down the mission to prevent its fuel from being used for combat in Afghanistan, limiting Japan to the role of assisting ships on patrols.

     

    Nobutaka Machimura, chief cabinet secretary, said he hoped the two could break the deadlock.

     

    "If this situation continues, the government's hands will remain tied in

    all matters of national decision-making," he said. "I hope we see progress."

     

    Vessels recalled 

     

    The two ships in the mission – a destroyer and a refueller with 340 troops aboard – were due to head back home on Thursday.

     

    The US state department said the US will continue to push for an early revival of Japan's refuelling mission.

     

    "While we are disappointed that these refuelling activities have temporarily been halted, we certainly hope that the new legislation will move through the Japanese system quickly," Tom Casey, a spokesman, said.

     

    Japan has provided about 126 million gallons of fuel worth $520m to coalition warships in the Indian Ocean, including those from the US, Britain and Pakistan.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Residents of long-neglected northwestern tribal belt say incorporation into Pakistan has left them in a vacuum.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    Prince Philip has done the world an extraordinary service by exposing the racist hypocrisy of "Western civilisation".