Japan Extends Diet Session to Debate Afghanistan Support Mission

Japan Extends Diet Session to Debate Afghanistan Support Mission

TOKYO, Japan -- While legislatures around the world wind down their sessions ahead of the New Year, the government in Japan announced earlier this month it was extending its parliamentary session in an effort to resolve a debate that has for the last couple of months brought the legislative process here largely to a halt.

On Dec.15, the administration of Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda announced that the Diet session would be extended for another month, the first time in 14 years that a session has been extended into the new year. The decision was made to allow time to pass an antiterrorism bill that would enable the country's Maritime Self Defense Forces to resume their refueling mission in support of U.S.-led counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party had originally hoped to secure an extension to the law before it expired on Nov. 1. But with the opposition Democratic Party of Japan seizing control of the upper house in elections in July, the LDP was unable to pass new legislation in time, and the mission was called home.

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