( dpa )- The United States welcomed the decision by the Japanese government to resume naval operations in the Indian Ocean in support of the war on terrorism in Afghanistan.
"We were disappointed that the cooperation had to cease temporarily," US State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey said Friday. "We welcome the decision by the Japanese government to renew this very important support."
Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda pushed a bill through parliament authorizing the Japanese role for another year, after the Self- Defence Forces pulled out in November because opposition to the role forced a previous mandate to expire.
Fukuda said he planned to dispatch the Japanese ships by the end of this month so they can start their refuelling mission in mid- February.