U.S. Envoy Praises Japan's Support for Terror War
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 28, 2004 The top U.S. envoy for arms control called Japan's support for the war on terror, including its decision to extend logistical support for the coalition in Afghanistan and its hosting of a counter- proliferation exercise, a testament to the strong bilateral security alliance between the United States and Japan.
John R. Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, praised Japan's "courageous step to send troops to Iraq to help rebuild a society shattered by decades of Saddam's dictatorial rule."
Speaking at the Tokyo American Center Oct. 27, Bolton also pointed to Japan's deployment of its Maritime Self-Defense Forces to the Indian Ocean two years ago in support of coalition operations in Afghanistan as an example of mutual cooperation between the two countries.
Bolton delivered his comments one day after the Japanese Cabinet agreed to extend Japan's logistical support for the coalition in Afghanistan by six months, through May 1, 2005.
Japan launched its navy operation to provide fuel for coalition warships in the region in November 2001. Its cabinet has extended that mission's six-month mandate six times.
In a related development, the Japanese Cabinet also approved a plan to allow Japanese forces to provide oil for coalition helicopters aboard naval ships and to supply water for the ships.
An official at the Japanese Embassy in Washington said Japan has dispatched destroyers and supply ships to the Indian Ocean to provide at-sea refueling to coalition naval vessels supporting Operation Enduring Freedom since November 2001.
As of mid-October, Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Forces had completed 430 refueling operations, during which they provided 100 million gallons of fuel, 30 percent of all fuel consumed by U.S. and allied naval vessels, the official said.
In addition, the Air Self-Defense Force of Japan has conducted more than 250 airlift support missions for U.S. forces with C-130 and U-4 transport aircraft, the official said.
In Japan to observe Team Samurai 2004, a multinational exercise conducted as part of the Proliferation Security Initiative, Bolton also praised Japan for demonstrating its ability and willingness to use naval assets to counter proliferation.
The exercise, which included vessels from the United States, Australia, France and Japan, involved a simulated interdiction in the Pacific near Tokyo Bay. It demonstrated to "would-be proliferators that the spread of weapons of mass destruction will not be tolerated," Bolton said.
"Japanese forces and law-enforcement personnel demonstrated the highest degree of professionalism and prowess at sea," Bolton said. "We appreciate their efforts to make this important exercise a success."
Earlier this week, during his visit to Tokyo, Secretary of State Colin Powell also praised Japan's support in the war on terror. In addition to its provision of fuel to anti-terrorism forces in the Indian Ocean and its work on the Proliferation Security Initiative, Powell praised Japan for hosting a successful donor's conference for Iraq and Afghanistan.
"What Japan has been able to do by sending its humanitarian forces out of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces to Iraq is evidence" of Japan's growing role on the world stage, he said.
"It is a very complex world out there, and Japan has a role to play in that world, and it will find ways to play that role, as you've done in Iraq," Powell said.