US rejects Japan bid to limit Indian Ocean refueling under new anti-terror bill

US rejects Japan bid to limit Indian Ocean refueling under new anti-terror bill

[JURIST] The US has rejected a Japanese request that any fuel provided to US ships as part of Japan's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean not be used henceforth for military or humanitarian relief operations in Afghanistan, sources told Kyodo News Thursday. The US has said that recent amendments to Japan's anti-terror bill [JURIST report] requiring US forces to only use the provided fuel for specific purposes would place unacceptable restrictions on US anti-terror efforts. Kyodo News has more.

In November 2007, the Japanese House of Representatives passed [JURIST report] the bill re-authorizing Japan's support for US anti-terror operations in the Indian Ocean, making it possible for Japanese ships to resume refueling for US vessels involved in anti-terrorism or anti-smuggling operations. The bill, which bars the refueling of US vessels involved in military or humanitarian relief operations in Afghanistan, was a compromise between Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DJP) [party websites]. It now goes to the Japan's House of Councillors for approval, but in light of US objections it is likely that the final bill will not place conditions on the fuel's use.