Japan to pull out ships to fuel US occupying Afghanistan
Japan said would pull out its two naval ships from the Indian Ocean operation when their current mandate expires in January.
Japan will end its refuelling support for US occupying Afghanistan for years, Defence Minister Toshimi Kitazawa said on Tuesday, a month before U.S. President Barack Obama visits Washington's to the country.
Kitazawa said Japan would pull out its two naval ships from the Indian Ocean operation when their current mandate expires in January. The refueling work began in 2001.
It was the clearest statement so far by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's new government, which has pledged to take a diplomatic stance more independent of Washington policies, that it was set to end the nearly 8-year-old work.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano said Japan is studying what other contributions would be best for the region and hoped to come up with a proposal within weeks.
Okada is the envoy of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, whose Democratic Party of Japan took over Japan's government on September 16 following its landslide victory in national elections.
Hatoyama's government is preparing its plans for helping Afghanistan ahead of US President Barack Obama's visit to Japan on November 12 and 13 as part of an Asian tour.
However, Japan has committed to paying all Afghan police salaries for six months and is funding a number of infrastructure, agriculture and education projects.
Agencies Last Mod: 13 Ekim 2009, 12:34