Japan terminates its anti-terrorism mission in Indian Ocean
TOKYO, January 15 (RIA Novosti) - Japan ended on Friday its naval anti-terrorism mission in the Indian Ocean aimed at supporting the U.S.-led Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
Japanese vessels have been refueling and supplying water to ships involved in Maritime Intercept Operations, or MIO, in the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf since 2001.
However, the mission has long been shrouded in controversy, with opposition politicians criticizing its lack of UN mandate and claiming that it violates the country's pacifist constitution.
After the victory of the Democratic Party of Japan in the August 2009 general election, the new Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, decided against extending the mission's mandate beyond the expiration date on January 15, 2010.
Japan has opted instead to focus on humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and pledged to allocate $5 billion over five years to help the war-torn country in the areas of education and social development.
According to the Japanese military, the country supplied millions of gallons of fuel and fresh water to coalition warships on anti-terrorism patrols during its eight-year Indian Ocean mission.
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