Defense Secretary Robert Gates urged Japan today to resume a naval support mission for US operations in Afghanistan, Reuters reports. Japan has conducted refueling operations in the region for the past six years at a cost of approximately $195 million. The mission was stopped earlier this month after an opposition party, citing lack of a UN mandate, withdrew support.
"This is not [just] between the United States and Japan, but rather [about] Japan's contribution to a broad international coalition that is involved in trying to bring freedom in Afghanistan," Gates said, noting that Japan's mission aided more than 40 countries. Urging Japan to play a greater role in global security, particularly concerning North Korea, is the object of Gates' visit.