TOKYO – U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told pacifist Japan today that it had an obligation to take on an expanded role in global security affairs appropriate to its political, economic and military capabilities. In a final public appearance of a week of travels across East Asia, Gates told students and faculty members of Tokyo’s Sophia University that Americans “hope and expect Japan will choose to accept more global security responsibilities in the years ahead.” Gates recalled that before the first Persian Gulf War in 1991, Japan, which is far more dependent on Middle East oil than is the United States, contributed financial support but no military forces. He also said Japan was criticized for what was then dismissively called “checkbook diplomacy.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre Gates said that today, “Japan has the opportunity and an obligation to take on a role that reflects its political, economic and military capacity.” He applauded the aid Japan provided to stabilization efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, noting that Japan was one of the largest contributors of money for reconstruction efforts in those countries. Japan has also provided assistance in limited military-support roles.