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The government decided Monday to extend the deployment of Maritime Self-Defense Force vessels in the Arabian Sea as part of the U.S.-led antiterror mission by another six months to May 1.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said the fleet will be given the new duties of refueling carrier-borne helicopters and replenishing foreign naval ships with fresh water, in addition to its current job of refueling vessels, Hosoda told a news conference.

The measures were approved in an afternoon meeting of the Security Council and will be formalized in a Cabinet meeting Tuesday, the top government spokesman said.

The MSDF vessels are engaged in refueling U.S. and other foreign naval ships involved in military campaigns in and around Afghanistan.

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