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Japan to Extend Military Mission to Afghanistan


Japan says it plans to extend the country's commitment to provide naval support to U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda made the announcement Wednesday in Tokyo.

Japan's maritime self defense forces were dispatched to the Indian Ocean in 2001 to provide fuel for coalition warships in the region.

The mission expires on November 1, but Mr. Hosoda says Japan's Parliament is expected to extend the mission for another year.

Another overseas deployment of Japanese self defense forces - to southern Iraq - is scheduled to end in December. A decision on whether to keep troops there has not been made.

Critics say the deployment violates Japan's pacifist constitution. Japanese troops in Iraq can operate only in non-combat zones.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.

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