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Updated: January 16, 2010 01:55 IST

Japan calls off refuelling mission

P.S. Suryanarayana
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Japanese Defence Minister Toshimi Kitazawa, speaks with Japan's Maritime Self-Defence Force supply ship Mashu Captain Ryo Sakai, shown on the screen, aboard the vessel in the Indian Ocean on a teleconference as he orders the destroyer Ikazuchi and Mashu to pull out of the Indian Ocean on Friday, at the Defence Ministry in Tokyo. Photo: AP.
Japanese Defence Minister Toshimi Kitazawa, speaks with Japan's Maritime Self-Defence Force supply ship Mashu Captain Ryo Sakai, shown on the screen, aboard the vessel in the Indian Ocean on a teleconference as he orders the destroyer Ikazuchi and Mashu to pull out of the Indian Ocean on Friday, at the Defence Ministry in Tokyo. Photo: AP.

Japan on Friday terminated its non-combat mission of refuelling ships engaged in the U.S.-led “anti-terror war” in Afghanistan. Operating in the Indian Ocean area, the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force vessels have carried out refuelling from December 2001, except for a short suspension from November 2007 to January 2008. The termination follows the expiry of a relevant Japanese law.

In a statement in Tokyo on Friday, Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said his country would continue “active contributions” towards the international community’s counter-terror agenda. He did not elaborate. However, Japanese government spokesman Kazuo Kodama said Tokyo had already announced a $5-billion contribution for Afghanistan over a five-year period. The amount would be earmarked for the training of Afghanistan’s security forces, re-integration of former Taliban fighters into the Afghan society, and sustainable economic development in that country.

The mission was undertaken in accordance with two special enactments under Japan’s pacifist Constitution.

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