Japan prepares to resume naval operations near Afghanistan

Japan prepared Friday to end a months-long hiatus in its anti-terror naval operations near Afghanistan, with the ruling party expected to push a bill through parliament to approve a resumption de spite protest from the opposition bloc. Parliament's upper house, controlled by a resurgent opposition, is set to reject the law that would revive a limited version of Japan's six-year-long mission to provide support to US-led forces in the region. But the powerful lower house, which is controlled by Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's ruling coalition, is expected to overrule that later in the day with a two-thirds majority, ensuring Tokyo's ships can return to the Indian Ocean as early as next month. Such a move is exceedingly rare in Japan, where the government strives to maintain the appearance of consensus rule. The last time the lower house overruled a rejection by the upper house was in 1951, over a law to regulate motorboat racing.