IN ANOTHER sign that the USA's global empire is on the wane, Japan has stopped refuelling American warships.
Reports PressTV today: "Japan's Democratic party-led government in an unprecedented decision has ended its nearly a decade-long refueling mission of the US-led forces in Afghanistan.
"Incoming reports say Defense Minister Tishimi Kitazawar ordered all naval ships and their hundreds of personnel to return home after nine years of helping supply oil to vessels used by foreign forces that are engaged in a controversial war in landlocked Afghanistan.
"Kitazawar is also expected to issue an official order that will totally terminate refueling operation in the Indian Ocean on Friday. Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force has been refueling the US mission since the Afghan war began in 2001.
"Reports say Japanese ships have provided more than 500,000 liters of oil to vessels from 12 countries, including the US, France, Britain and Pakistan since last December. A defense ministry tally shows the fuel cost has gone above 26 million dollars.
"Japan has promised to change the old way things worked between Tokyo and Washington. The new Japanese government, which is against a military solution for the conflict, has pledged up to five billion dollars in civilian aid to Afghanistan.
"In addition, Tokyo's relations with Washington have been strained over a number of issues since Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama took office last year.
"Diplomatic ties between Japan and the US have recently witnessed a low over a previously signed deal to relocate an American base on Okinawa. The premier has suggested that the US military bases should be moved off the island of Okinawa or even outside of Japan altogether."