The Diet on Wednesday endorsed an agreement to share with the United States in real time the fingerprints of suspected terrorists and individuals involved in serious crimes.

The pact, approved by the Lower House last month, was passed Wednesday by the Upper House on the strength of backing by the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito along with some of the opposition parties, including the Democratic Party of Japan.

When the accord comes into effect in the next few years, it will allow the two countries to share fingerprint data when a known terrorist suspect tries to enter either country and is detained or when authorities are unable to identify foreigners under arrest.

It will enable law enforcement authorities in each nation to send the fingerprints electronically to the other nation for comparison.

The treaty's backers said this will speed up the trans-Pacific exchange of information, which currently must be routed through Interpol.