Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is striving to protect state secrets by stiffening the penalties for leakers in a new law touted as a pillar of his envisioned security framework.

With the focus on how Tokyo will address public criticism about tightening control over government information in the Diet, Abe is laying the groundwork for the Self-Defense Forces to engage in overseas missions to make more "proactive" contributions to global peace under the new framework.

The Cabinet on Friday approved a bill to toughen penalties for civil servants, politicians and others who leak sensitive information related to diplomacy, defense, terrorism and espionage. Those who disclose information designated as "special secrets" will face up to 10 years in prison.