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Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa on Thursday repeated that Japan will continue to make antiterrorism contributions after the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s refueling mission in the Indian Ocean is terminated, but stopped short of outlining possible alternatives.

Repeating statements by other Cabinet members, including Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada, Kitazawa said during a group interview that the Democratic Party of Japan-led ruling coalition does not intend to extend the MSDF dispatch, which is part of international antiterrorism operations in and around Afghanistan. “The temporary law (that enables the dispatch) expires in January,” Kitazawa said without elaborating.

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