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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 October 17 - 23  > Refueled ships may carry out operations in Iraq as long as they are active in Afghan: defense minister
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2007 October 17 - 23 [SDF]

Refueled ships may carry out operations in Iraq as long as they are active in Afghan: defense minister

October 18, 2007
Defense Minister Ishiba Shigeru in the October 17 House of Councilors Budget Committee meeting put forward the view that under the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law foreign warships may carry out operations targeting Iraq after they receive fuel from Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force as long as they are engaged in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), targeting Afghanistan at the same time.

The U.S. aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk was participating in Operation Southern Watch (OSW) in Iraq when it was refueled by an MSDF supply ship on February 25, 2003.

In answer to a Democratic Party member’s question if it is lawful for the MSDF to provide oil for a U.S. warship conducting both the OEF and the OSW, Ishiba said, “Of course, we do not think it violates the law.”

While admitting that use of Japan’s fuel in the war on Iraq (Operation Iraq Freedom) is “certainly unauthorized,” Ishiba stated, “It is a matter of course for those vessels to conduct the OIF after carrying out the OEF because those operating areas are closely located.”

Foreign Minister Komura Masahiko also stated, “Such operations are legitimate as long as the fuel is used for the OEF.” - Akahata, October 18, 2007
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