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Koizumi okays Aegis dispatch
Public criticism has mounted against the Japanese governmentís recent decision to dispatch an Aegis-equipped destroyer in the Indian Ocean later this month. The public is concerned that this high-tech vessel, equipped with advanced intelligence-gathering and air-defense systems, might be used indirectly to aid US forces in a possible future attack on Iraq. However, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has brushed off the criticism, stressing that the governmentís decision came under the legal framework of Japanís logistic support for the US-led antiterrorism actions in Afghanistan, actions that the public has approved.