Japan extends Afghan mission for one year
Tokyo, October 3, 2005 - Japan's Cabinet endorsed a one-year extension of the country's naval mission to support U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan on Tuesday,
citing renewed concerns about terrorism after the recent bombings in Indonesia.
Japan's navy has provided fuel for coalition warships in the region since November 2001 under a special law that was to expire on Nov. 1. It had already been extended in 2003 for two years. The Cabinet decided to prolong the mission by only one year this time. "We decided one year was necessary," said Hiroyuki Hosoda, chief government spokesman. "The problem of terrorism has again become more serious with terrorist activities intensifying from London to Bali."
The bill will now be sent to Parliament where it is expected to pass as the ruling coalition â€” Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's Liberal Democratic Party and its ally New Komei Party â€” holds majorities in both houses.
Japan also has stationed 600 non-combat troops in the southern Iraqi city of Samawah on a humanitarian mission to purify water, rebuild schools, and other tasks. That mission expires on Dec. 14, but Tokyo has not decided whether to extend it.