Japan on Tuesday extended its naval logistic support for U.S. antiterror operations in Afghanistan by another six months.

The step is designed to maintain Maritime Self-Defense Force support “amid the continuation of the U.S.-led campaign to stamp out the al-Qaeda network and the global effort to eradicate terrorism under the coordination of the international community,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda told a news conference.

The extension was approved at morning meetings of Japan’s Security Council and the Cabinet, Fukuda said. Earlier this month, a two-year law on the mission was also extended.

Under the law, enacted in October 2001 following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, Japan for the first time deployed noncombat personnel to a conflict area and began in December to refuel U.S. vessels in the Arabian Sea.

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