Breakthrough May Put Japan Back on Board Afghan Mission

Bill would OK fueling US 'terror inspection' ships
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2007 6:48 AM CST
Members of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) on board Tokiwa watch a Pakistani navy destroyer refueled by the MSDF's refueling vessel in the Indian Ocean Monday, Oct. 29, 2007. Japan has refueled...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A Japanese parliamentary committee has apparently broken a deadlock that halted aid to US ships in the Indian Ocean headed to Afghanistan. The nation's constitution forbids involvement in overseas wars, but Japanese fuel tenders have provided 126 million gallons of fuel to coalition ships. The opposition party blocked the operation at the beginning of the month.

The new proposal would permit Japan to provide water to all ships and fuel only to those inspecting vessels for terrorist ties or smuggled arms. Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and his party can force the bill through the lower house, but debate in the opposition-controlled upper house could still stall it for weeks.