( dpa ) - Japan decided Friday to resume its refueling mission to aid allied warships in the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan as early as February.
A law was enacted Friday to allow Japan's Self-Defence Forces (SDF) to assist international allies in the Indian Ocean for at least another year.
The bill to resume the anti-terrorism operations, which would likely start in mid-February, won a two-thirds majority vote in Japan's more powerful lower house, the House of Representatives.
The majority in the lower house is held by Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner New Komeito party.
Friday's vote came after the upper house, which is controlled by the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, rejected the bill in a plenary session earlier in the day.
The lower house had already passed the bill on November 13, but the special law authorizing the mission expired after resistance from the opposition camp by the Democratic Party of Japan and the refueling was suspended.
Restarting the mission is a key policy objective for Fukuda who assumed office in September.