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Saturday, Oct. 14, 2006

Abe eyes permanent law to allow SDF dispatches


Staff writer

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday told the Lower House that he will consider pushing a new permanent law that would allow the dispatch of the Self-Defense Forces to assist in military operations abroad instead of continuous extending temporary deployment legislation.

The Lower House began deliberating the extension of the special antiterrorism law for another year so Maritime Self-Defense Force ships can continue providing fuel to naval forces in the Indian Ocean involved in counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan.

Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Shigeru Ishiba also stressed the need to create a general law, that doesn't have a built-in expiry, to permit SDF dispatches for international operations.

Up to the present, "we have corresponded to (international military operations) through legislation of specified duration and special laws for certain situations," Ishiba said. But "unless we provide a general law, it will be difficult to take mobile and effective action."

In response, Abe said, "it is an issue that needs to be considered carefully based on public opinion."

Abe also stressed the need for the one-year extension of the current law.

"The global fight against terrorism is still ongoing," he said. "Based on international cooperation, our country must continue playing a major role in the war on terrorism, recognizing it as our problem."

The antiterrorism law was enacted one month after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States.

It has been extended twice already, for two years in October 2003 and for another year last October.

Security tightened

The Associated Press

Japan will tighten its antiterrorism measures on trains, planes and in other public places to guard against possible North Korean retaliation over Tokyo's sanctions on the regime, officials said Friday.



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