Japan's opposition votes to halt air force's mission in Iraq

Japan's upper house of parliament voted Wednesday to halt the air force's transport mission in Iraq, intensifying the opposition bloc's standoff with the government over Tokyo's role in peacekeeping missions abroad. The opposition-controlled upper house approved a bill from the Democratic Party calling for the halt, in a vote of 133-103 during a plenary session. However, the legislation is expected to be voted down when it goes to the more powerful lower house, where the ruling Liberal Democratic Party has enough votes to override the upper chamber's decision. The vote comes amid a political battle over Japan's mission in the Indian Ocean in support of US-led troops fighting in Afghanistan. The mission was halted Nov. 1 when the opposition blocked it in parliament.