US ambassador urges Japanese premier to renew Afghan mission

October 19, 2007 13:44

Washington wants Japan to renew a mission to refuel coalition ships in the Indian Ocean as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said Friday. US officials have repeatedly pressed Japan in recent weeks to extend the mission. Legislation enabling it expires November 1. Japanese officials have acknowledged, however, that a bill to extend it is unlikely to gain approval by the Diet - Japan's parliament - before the deadline, and that a gap in Japan's activities is inevitable. Meeting with the premier in his office Friday, US Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer expressed Washington's desire to see the operation renewed, Fukuda told reporters Friday evening.

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