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Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2007

No fuel went to Iraq war, Defense says

Staff writer

The Defense Ministry released a report Tuesday saying fuel provided by Maritime Self-Defense Force vessels in the Indian Ocean was not used for the Iraq war and thus did not violate the special antiterrorism law.

According to the report, an investigation team studied documents kept at the ministry as well as those provided by the recipients of the MSDF's 794 operations to supply fuel to warships operating in the Indian Ocean between December 2001 and the law's expiration last Thursday.

The law stipulated that the fuel was to be used only for U.S.-led antiterrorism operations in and near Afghanistan. Ministry officials said they looked into where the vessels serviced by the MSDF were operating.

However, they said there were some cases in which the ministry was not able to obtain all the necessary data and therefore had to rely on assumptions when they could not trace the activities of some vessels.

The officials also said it was difficult to trace the fuel once it was out of the MSDF's hands.

Countries whose warships received the fuel included the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Pakistan and Canada.

Of the 794 refueling operations, 647 involved combat ships and 147 involved replenishment vessels.

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The Japan Times

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