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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 October 17 - 23  > Fukuda Cabinet submits new bill to continue MSDF refueling operations
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2007 October 17 - 23 [SDF]

Fukuda Cabinet submits new bill to continue MSDF refueling operations

October 18, 2007
In an attempt to continue the Maritime Self-Defense Force refueling operations in the Indian Ocean, the Fukuda Cabinet on October 17 submitted to the Diet a bill to replace the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law that will expire on November 1.

The government and ruling parties intend to enact the bill in the current extraordinary session of the Diet.

Though modified slightly, the bill has no fundamental changes from the special measures law that was enacted in 2001 and which was later extended. The new law, if enacted, will be effective for one year, but the duration can be extended as is the case with the current special law.

The bill requires that the MSDF activities be limited to supplying fuel or water to vessels engaged in the Maritime Interdiction Operation (MIO) to intercept transportation of terrorists or weapons by sea.

However, it has already been proved that the MIO constitutes part of the U.S.-led war of retaliation against terrorism with the code name the Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). In addition to this, the U.S. forces deployed to the Indian Ocean are tasked with three missions as a package, namely the OEF, the war against Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom), and MIO. In reality, it is impossible to give assistance only to the MIO.

Since there is a high chance that the MSDF deployment will be disapproved in the House of Councilors in which the opposition parties form a majority, the government removed the current special measures law’s provision that dispatches of SDF units to the area require the Diet’s ex post facto approval.

Commenting on the bill, Japanese Communist Party Diet Policy Commission Chair Koike Akira on the same day said to reporters, “The bill is intended to authorize any activities that the MSDF is currently conducting. There is no way that Japan’s fuel is only used for the MIO.”

“The MSDF activities under the new law will assist U.S. air strikes on Afghanistan and in some cases the war on Iraq,” Koike said.
- Akahata, October 18, 2007
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