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The Lower House passed a revision to the peacekeeping operations law Friday that will allow Self-Defense Forces commanders to order defensive fire.

The revision was supported mainly by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, the Democratic Party of Japan, the Liberal Party and Shinto Heiwa (New Peace Party). The Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party, voted against the revision. Three members from the DPJ joined the opposition.

The revision, which was sent to the Upper House, is expected to clear both chambers during this Diet session. While the current law states that the use of weapons is up to each unit member’s judgment if the life of that soldier or officer is threatened, the revision gives military commanders the discretion to order defensive fire.

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