The Lower House adopted three bills Tuesday for facilitating defense cooperation between Japan and the United States in emergencies that take place within unspecified “areas surrounding Japan.”

The bills cleared the chamber two days ahead of Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi’s departure for the U.S. to meet President Bill Clinton in Washington on Monday but after much haggling over geographical semantics and proposed requirements for Diet approval of operations involving the Self-Defense Forces.

At a Lower House plenary session members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Liberal Party, and New Komeito voted for the bills, which then were passed immediately to the House of Councilors.

The three parties together hold a majority in the upper chamber and the bills are expected to become law.

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