JMSDF refueling in Indian ocean
The government is considering re-deploying Maritime Self-Defense Force tankers to refuel foreign vessels engaged in anti-piracy operations in the Indian ocean and assist the operations off the horn of Africa and in Afghanistan. It has been confirmed, according to sources close to political and defense affairs, during the visit of a high official of Japan Defense ministry to the US.
Hatoyama had ended the unpopular refueling mission in the Indian Ocean designed to be part of Japan's contribution to the US-led war on terror in Afghanistan. In January he did fulfill his election campaign pledge to end the eight-year refueling mission, but outraged his supporters in Japan by offering $5 billion towards Afghan reconstruction to appease Washington, much to the consternation of his DPJ supporters.
The JSDF will be involved in dispatching military equipment and personal in the region according to sources. This will add a serious blow to the DPJ political pledges which were to take distance from assisting US and international military operations in the Indian ocean and in Afghanistan. It also marks a 180 degree rotation from previous political pledges from the Democratic Party of Japan of Prime Minister Naoto KAN not to get involved into military operations overseas.
Sources: Reporter's notes