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Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2007

New MSDF bill to have one year limit

Staff writer

A joint ruling-bloc panel paved the way Tuesday for Cabinet approval of a bill to continue logistic support for antiterrorism operations in and around Afghanistan for a another year.

The Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito are set to finalize the bill Wednesday morning, and the Cabinet will then endorse it for submission to the Diet later in the day.

Earlier this month, the ruling bloc was considering an outline of a bill which would have set the Maritime Self-Defense Force's activities for a period of two years. New Komeito, however, argued it should only be valid for a year to ensure civilian oversight of the mission.

During Tuesday's session of the Upper House Budget Committee, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda explained that the initial bill was originally scheduled to last two years to express to the rest of the world Japan's determination to continue fighting the war against terrorism.

"But looking (at the bill) from the viewpoint of thoroughly checking on (the MSDF's activities) in the Diet, I can understand (why the validity of the bill can be shortened) to one year," Fukuda said. "At the same time, however, we must also be creative to make sure that international society understands Japan's position on taking measures (to fight) the war on terrorism."

The current special antiterrorism law expires Nov. 1.

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The Japan Times

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