Japanese parliament OKs resumption of Indian Ocean naval mission

A Japanese parliamentary committee Monday approved the renewal of a limited version of an anti-terror naval mission in the Indian Ocean that was halted by an impasse in the legislature. The bill, which is expected to be voted in the full lower house on Tuesday, limits Japanese ships to refueling and supplying water to ships used in the monitoring and inspection of vessels suspected of links to terrorism or arms smuggling. Japanese warships had been refueling vessels in the region since 2001 in support of US-led troops in Afghanistan, but the mission was halted on Nov. 1 when the opposition blocked the operation's extension. The new mission would broadly be part of the US-led Operation Enduring Freedom, but would not allow Japanese warships to refuel vessels involved in military attacks, or in rescue operations and humanitarian relief directly related to Afghanistan.