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Rice Appreciates Japan's Support for US Military Operations
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US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had talks in Washington on Thursday with Japanese Defense Minister Yuriko Koike and thanked Japan for continued logistical support for American military operations in Afghanistan.

Rice thanked Koike "for Japan's efforts in fighting the war on terrorism, especially with respect to their mission out in the Indian Ocean in support of Operation Enduring Freedom," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters.

"She expressed her thanks, and she also made it clear that this is, of course, a Japanese decision, but we welcome all Japan's continuing support for the mission," McCormack said.

It was reported that Washington has been pressing Tokyo to extend a mission in which Japanese ships in the Indian Ocean provide fuel and logistics for US forces in Afghanistan. Its legal mandate expires November 1.

Japan's main opposition Democratic Party, which just captured the upper house of parliament, has objected the extension.

During a meeting with US Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer Wednesday, President of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Ichiro Ozawa said his party would insist on concluding the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling operations for the US military by Nov.1, the Daily Yomiuri reported.

(Xinhua News Agency August 10, 2007)

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