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New Japan PM to push anti-terrorism law renewal

[JURIST] Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda [official website; BBC report], the newly elected successor to former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe [JURIST news archive], said Friday that he plans to submit a new anti-terrorism law to parliament that will allow Japan to continue to refuel allied ships in the Indian Ocean connected to Operation Enduring Freedom [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] in Afghanistan. The original legislation authorizing the refueling, the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law [text], was passed in 2001 and has since been extended annually [MOFA press release]. The law is currently slated to expire November 1, after its renewal was blocked by the upper house of parliament. On Friday, ambassadors from 11 countries, including Australia, Canada, France and Germany, issued a joint statement encouraging Japan to continue its involvement, citing its contribution as "unique and vital."

Japan's involvement in Afghanistan has caused a rift [JURIST report] between the Liberal Democratic Party (LPJ) and the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) [party websites]. Abe, a member of the LPJ, announced his resignation [BBC English translation; JURIST report] on September 12, citing problems renewing the anti-terrorism law. DPJ president Ichiro Ozawa [party profile] has voiced his opposition to Japan acting abroad in operations not sanctioned by the United Nations and has promised that his party will continue to block the legislation. The Australian has more. DPA has additional coverage.

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