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Defense Agency chief Gen Nakatani on Friday denied media reports that the United States has asked Japan to expand the scope of its logistic support for antiterrorism military operations in Afghanistan.

Nakatani said, however, that diplomatic and defense authorities of the two countries have been “exchanging information” but declined comment on details of the bilateral consultations.

“We have not received any kind of requests,” Nakatani told a news conference after the day’s Cabinet meeting. “There was no formal opinion or document presented (during the bilateral consultations) that would demand (the Japanese government) to make some sort of decision or change its (current) measures.”

Some media reported Thursday that Washington had asked Tokyo to expand the Maritime Self-Defense Force refueling operation in support of the antiterrorism campaign in Afghanistan, a move apparently envisaging an attack on Iraq.

The reports quoted anonymous Japanese and U.S. sources as saying the U.S. asked Japan to expand its current MSDF refueling mission for U.S. and British warships in the Arabian Sea to the area off Somalia to provide fuel for German vessels engaged in maritime inspections.

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