A Maritime Self-Defense Force supply ship in the Arabian Sea refueled a French vessel for the first time Sunday as part of its logistic support for U.S.-led antiterror operations in and around Afghanistan, the MSDF said Monday.

The Japanese vessel provided the French ship with about 160 kiloliters of fuel.

The Cabinet decided Feb. 28 to expand Japan’s support efforts to include refueling French, German and New Zealand ships, in addition to those from the United States and Britain.

Refueling vessels from Germany and New Zealand will follow, and Japan is also considering expanding support to about five other countries, the MSDF said.

Japan started providing logistic support on the basis of a special antiterrorism law passed shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the U.S.

Among the MSDF vessels dispatched to the Arabian Sea is the Kirishima, an Aegis-equipped destroyer. Japan provided support to U.S. and British vessels, including 280,000 kiloliters of fuel oil worth 10.5 billion yen, between December 2001 and late February.

The special law stipulates that the fuel provisions should not be used for purposes other than antiterrorism activities related to the Sept. 11 attacks.

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