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Japan's PM Candidate: Parliament May Force through Afghan Mission Law

  • VOA News

The frontrunner in the race to be Japan's prime minister says the ruling coalition could force through legislation to continue Tokyo's support for US-led operations in Afghanistan.

Speaking on a television debate on Sunday, Yasuo Fukuda said the legislation could skip the opposition-dominated upper house of parliament and be passed twice in the more powerful lower house. He said the measure would only be used as a last resort.

The opposition does not want to renew the legislation, which allows Japan's navy to refuel coalition ships in the Indian Ocean. The law expires November first.

Fukuda's rival, Taro Aso, also supports the legislation.

The men face off September 23rd in a race to lead the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and, therefore, the country.

The winner will replace Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who said Wednesday he is stepping down following a series of corruption scandals.

Public opinion polls indicate Fukuda is the expected winner. A veteran politician, he is seen as a foreign policy dove.

Fukuda says Japan should cooperate more closely with China, and ease its hardline rhetoric toward North Korea.

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