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Saturday, Aug. 9, 2008

U.S. won't interfere with Japan's antiterrorism policy, Boucher says


Staff writer

The ball is in Japan's court when it comes to deciding the contribution it can make to antiterrorism efforts in Afghanistan, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher said Friday in Tokyo.

Under a special law that expires in January, the Maritime Self-Defense Force has been engaged in refueling a U.S.-led coalition in the Indian Ocean.

The Liberal Democratic Party-New Komeito ruling coalition plans to seek an extension to the law in the upcoming extraordinary Diet session, but the outlook is bleak with the opposition parties controlling the Upper House.

"How each country goes about it and what they are able to do is a matter for them to decide within their own politics, within their system," Boucher, head of Central and South Asian affairs, told a news conference.

The diplomat said that specific aspects of cooperation are up for each government to decide, but added that the United States will step up its efforts to stabilize the region, for example by training and equipping Afghan security forces.

"We are asking others to look at how they can do more, not less" to stabilize the area, Boucher said.

In regard to the U.S.-India civil nuclear deal, Boucher said he hopes all nations concerned, including Japan, will allow India to buy fuel and nuclear technology from the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

India must strike a deal with the NSG, an organization of countries that export nuclear materials, which includes Japan, before the deal is sent to the U.S. Congress for approval.

Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura is concerned about the deal since India has not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation treaty.



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