Fukuda says he will push for new anti-terrorism law in Japan
Sep 21, 2007, 8:16 GMT
Tokyo - Yasuo Fukuda, the leading candidate to become Japan's new prime minister next week, said Friday he plans to submit a new law to parliament to clear the way for the Japanese military to continue assisting Western nations involved in the war in Afghanistan.
Former chief cabinet secretary Fukuda is seen as the front runner in the race to replace Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a parliamentary election next Tuesday.
The 71-year-old Fukuda said that a new law is necessary because of the difficulty in gaining support from the opposition bloc to extend the current special law that allows the Japanese military to provide refuelling facilities for Allied ships. The current law expires on November 1.
LDP Secretary General and contender Taro Aso says he also sees the need to introduce a new law.
The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), which gained control of the House of Councillors in the July elections, planned to vote against the law extension.
During a debate on Friday, Fukuda said he was hopeful that a continuation of the extension of what he termed an anti-terrorism law may be gaining Japanese public support.
With a majority of LDP lawmakers' support, Fukuda is leading the LDP presidential race slated for vote on Sunday and was expected to assume the premiership next Tuesday.
The LDP president would effectively become Japan's prime minister as it controls the House of Representatives, which can override upper chamber decisions.
Abe resigned on September 12 and remains in hospital for gastrointestinal disorder triggered by stress and fatigue.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur