Statement by U.S. Ambassador to Japan J. Thomas Schieffer: Diet Extension of MSDF Refueling Operation

December 12, 2008

We welcome today's decision by the Diet to extend the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom maritime interdiction operations in the Indian Ocean. This mission provides crucial support to the international coalition's counterterrorism activities in Afghanistan.

A stable, prosperous Afghanistan is in the interest of the entire international community, including Japan. As a leading member of the international community, Japan has an important role to play in the international community's efforts to support a stable, democratic Afghanistan and in the fight against terrorism.