World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Japan Ends Naval Mission In Afghanistan

Japan Ends Naval Mission in Afghanistan

Japan's defense agency has ordered ships supporting U.S.-led military operations in Afghanistan to return home from the Indian Ocean, after the country's main opposition party refused to back an extension of the law supporting the mission. But the government has pledged to renew it.

The law authorizing the Japanese refueling mission expires at midnight Thursday in Japan. But Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba has already ordered Japan's two ships in the Indian Ocean, a destroyer and an oiler, to return to Japan, bringing to a close the country's main military role in the war on terror.

Since 2001, Japan has supplied fuel to ships that support U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan. The law authorizing the mission was passed after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

Lawmakers have extended the mission repeatedly, but the latest attempt at an extension failed to pass.

The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, which won control of the upper house of parliament earlier this year, refused to back the extension. Opposition lawmakers argue that the mission lacks a mandate from the United Nations, and that it goes against the country's pacifist constitution, which forbids Japan from engaging in military operations overseas.

Speaking late Wednesday, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said it is unfortunate the Indian Ocean mission is ending.

"Our refueling activity has been appreciated by many countries," he said. "It's a pity we have to end our task."

Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura said Thursday that the government will try to pass a new law resuming the mission. He says officials are making every effort to enact a new refueling bill as soon as possible.

Prime Minister Fukuda is expected to meet later this week with Ichiro Ozawa, the leader of the Democratic Party, to discuss a possible compromise.

Mr. Fukuda's Liberal Democratic Party controls the more powerful lower house of parliament, and could muscle through a new law allowing Japanese ships to return.

During its six-year mission, Japan has provided about 480,000 kiloliters of fuel to coalition warships in the Indian Ocean, including those from the United States, Britain and Pakistan.

U.S. officials and envoys from coalition countries had urged Japanese lawmakers to extend the mission. Earlier this week, a Pentagon spokesman said that if Japan ended the mission, Washington would come up with alternative ways of fueling the ships.

Japan's role in the war on terror has also included the deployment of 600 self-defense forces in a non-combat role in southern Iraq, a mission that ended earlier this year.


More: Latest World News | Top World News | World Digest | Archives

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN: COVID Contributed To 69,000 Malaria Deaths WHO Finds, Though ‘Doomsday Scenario’ Averted
Disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in considerable increases in malaria cases and deaths between 2019 and 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday... More>>

Save The Children: World Leaders Urged To Halt Escalating Hunger Crisis

A group of 120 non-governmental organisations has joined forces in an open letter calling on world leaders to do more to halt a devastating global hunger crisis as new analysis shows the number of people likely to be in need of humanitarian aid in 2022 could rise by 17%...More>>

WMO: Another La Niña Impacts Temperatures And Precipitation – But Not Climate Change
La Niña has developed for the second consecutive year and is expected to last into early 2022, influencing temperatures and precipitation. Despite the cooling influence of this naturally occurring climate phenomenon, temperatures in many parts of the world are expected to be above average because of the accumulated heat trapped in the atmosphere...

Cook Islands: First COVID Case "historical"

The 10 year old child who provided two ‘weak positive’ covid test results after arriving in Rarotonga last Thursday, has returned a negative result in his latest test. That means he’s not infectious and this is an historical case... More>>

Oxfam: Failure To Vaccinate The World Created Perfect Breeding Ground For Omicron, Say Campaigners

Campaigners from the People’s Vaccine Alliance say the refusal of pharmaceutical companies to openly share their vaccine science and technology and the lack of action from rich countries to ensure access to vaccines globally have created the perfect breeding ground for new variants such as Omicron... More>>

World Food Programme: Millions More In Need Of Food Assistance As A Direct Result Of Conflict In Northern Ethiopia

The number of people in need of humanitarian food assistance across northern Ethiopia has grown to an estimated 9.4 million as a direct result of ongoing conflict, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today... More>>