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Japan cabinet approves limited anti-terror bill

[JURIST] Japan's cabinet Wednesday approved new anti-terror legislation which would grant a one-year extension to a Japanese refueling mission in the Indian Ocean. The bill, which restricts its application to allied ships on anti-terrorism patrols, is a compromise [AFP report] between the leading Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) [official website, in Japanese] and the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DJP) [official website], which wishes to scrap the mission entirely. The changes to the anti-terrorism bill would prohibit Japanese support of US and other allied ships engaged in military, rescue, or humanitarian operations in Afghanistan. Critics of the bill say that it would effectively sideline Japan in the war on terror. The refuelling mission has also been criticized by those who say it violates the country's pacifist constitution by involving Japan in military operations in the Middle East.

The bill, a limited renewal [JURIST report] of the current Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law [text], will now move on to the DJP-controlled upper house of Japan's parliament. Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe resigned last month [JURIST report] amidst controversy over renewal of a broader version of the anti-terror law. Present Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda [official website] has pushed for renewing the law [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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