Statement by Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda
On Termination of the activities under the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law due to the Expiration of the Law
November 1, 2007
Japanese (Prime Minister of Japan and his Cabinet Official Website)
As of today, the Government of Japan terminated the refueling activities conducted by the Maritime Self-Defense Force in the Indian Ocean due to the expiration of the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law. I once again express my appreciation to the people of Japan, as the activities have been conducted based on their understanding and cooperation. I also commend every member of the Self-Defense Force involved for their dedication in steadily and orderly conducting the activities under severe working conditions.
The "fight against terror" by the international community is still ongoing. Nearly 3,000 precious lives, including 24 Japanese nationals, were taken by the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The threat posed by these attacks has not yet been removed to this day. Terrorism is a challenge to free and open societies, and the "fight against terror" is a matter of Japan's own national interest. This is precisely why Japan has played a part through the refueling activities. These activities must be resumed promptly.
Efforts to ensure that Afghanistan does not once again become a hotbed of terrorism lie at the center of the range of efforts by the international community in "the fight against terror." Japan has contributed more than 140 billion yen - more than 1.2 billion dollars - for civil and reconstruction assistance, making Japan the second largest donor to Afghanistan in the world. The Government of Japan will continue to implement reconstruction assistance in close coordination with the international community.
However, it is not possible to eradicate terrorism solely with reconstruction assistance. It is only when put together with counter-terrorism and security measures that reconstruction assistance can bear fruit. In Afghanistan, more than 40 countries are patiently continuing their efforts to recover security despite the casualties they are suffering. Maritime interdiction activities are, as part of such efforts, deterring terrorist activities in the Indian Ocean. The refueling activities, skillfully and capably provided by the Maritime Self-Defense Force, have taken root as an important foundation of the maritime interdiction activities. The Security Council has expressed appreciation for these activities in its resolution 1776. Many countries have expressed strong expectation for the continuation of the refueling activities. At the same time, these activities also contribute to the safety of maritime transportation in the Indian Ocean, which is a matter of great importance for Japan itself.
For Japan to play a responsible role in the joint efforts by the international community to eradicate terrorism, continuation of the refueling activities is a must. The Government of Japan will do its utmost, including efforts to improve the transparency of the refueling activities, to achieve the early enactment of the Replenishment Support Special Measures Law, so as to resume the refueling activities as soon as possible with the understanding and support of the Japanese people.
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