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Statement by the Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada (Enactment of a law to partially revise the Replenishment Support Special Measures Law)

December 12, 2008

Today, the law to extend the Replenishment Support Special Measures Law was enacted.

For about 10 months since the enactment of the Replenishment Support Special Measures Law in January of this year, the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) has been conducting the replenishment support activities in the severe environment of the Indian Ocean, as an important measure for Japan's international peace activities.

In the Indian Ocean, the vessels of various countries are working to prevent and deter the maritime movements of terrorists, etc. across an extensive sea area great enough to cover the Japanese Archipelago. Because the MSDF conducts replenishment operations in this area of water, the vessels of each country do not have to make a port call every time they need replenishment. Thus, the MSDF has significantly contributed to the efficiency of their operations.

However, advanced skills and expertise are required for such replenishment operations at sea by replenishment ships, and only a few countries in the world can conduct such operations without a break for long periods of time. The MSDF has been steadily conducting replenishment operations for a long period, with its high skills and capabilities. Such replenishment operations at sea have been highly evaluated by the international community.

The replenishment support activities have also contributed to the safety of the maritime traffic in the Indian Ocean, an area for transportation routes vital for Japan's existence and prosperity.

The international society is striving for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, while making valuable sacrifices. Against this backdrop, the replenishment support activities by the MSDF in the Indian Ocean are an important mission for Japan to fulfill its responsibilities in the fight against terrorism.

The SDF will continue to play its role in Japan's efforts for the fight against terrorism by accomplishing its missions steadily with high morale.

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