Japan's Hatoyama eyes civilian role in Afghanistan

AP News
Posted: Nov 13, 2009 2:52 PM

Japan's Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama says a civilian contribution to security in Afghanistan would be more appropriate for his country than continuing its role in providing Indian Ocean refueling assistance to the United States.

Speaking at a joint news conference Friday with President Barack Obama, Hatoyama said, "I think we have to consider the meaning of this logistical support and we've come to think there's another type of assistance that is more appropriate for Afghanistan."

One area of involvement that Hatoyama cited was possible vocational training for Afghan soldiers "so they do not have to rely on their guns" and can "seek a more fulfilling life." He said the time had come to provide "an alternative package" to replace the refueling mission.