TOKYO, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) has been involved in refueling U.S. warships in the Sea of Japan under new controversial security laws that came into effect last year, defense ministry sources said Thursday.
According to Kyodo News, a government source confirmed that MSDF supply ships conducted multiple refueling missions since April to U.S. Aegis ships in the Sea of Japan, marking the second time Japan's MSDF has carried out expanded operations under the new security laws.
In May, the defense ministry said a Japanese destroyer escorted a U.S. naval vessel, marking the first time that such a mission had been carried out under the new legislation.
The new security legislation allows more flexibility to the MSDF to provide supplies including oil to U.S. warships conducting operations in the region.
The legislation also applies to Japan's wider Self-Defense Force (SDF) as part of the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's push to broaden Japan's international military footprint.
The security legislation and the government's moves to bolster the SDF's presence on a global stage, has been widely criticized home and abroad for running contrary to Japan's postwar commitment to pacifism and the constitution that ensures it.