US Urges Japan to Return to Afghanistan

Japanese naval contribution halted by domestic politics
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 8, 2007 1:25 PM CST

(Newser) – 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. (Read more Robert Gates stories.)

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