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Japan revives mission aiding U.S. ships

From the Associated Press

Japan’s ruling coalition forced a bill through parliament today to revive a U.S.-backed anti-terrorism mission in the Indian Ocean, clearing the way for Japanese ships to return to the region.

Japan had refueled ships since 2001 in support of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, but was forced to abandon the mission in November when the opposition blocked its extension.

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda’s ruling bloc used a rare legislative procedure of winning a vote in the powerful lower house by a two-thirds majority to overrule the opposition-controlled upper house.

The measure will limit Japanese ships to refueling boats not directly involved in hostilities in Afghanistan.

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