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Friday, 19th June 2009
In General Japan News,

Japan increases anti-piracy measures

The Japanese parliament has passed new legislation that will allow its military to take stronger action in protecting ships in its jurisdiction from Somali pirates.

Under the new laws, Japanese warships will be able to move to protect any commercial vessel under threat in its waters as opposed to Japanese vessels or those carrying Japanese cargo and personnel.

Warships will also be permitted to fire at pirate vessels that continue to approach commercial ships after repeated warnings.

Japanese military action is typically placed under strict limitations by the country's pacifistic constitution, introduced following the second world war.

The parliament's upper house had attempted to block the new laws as a result of such concerns, but was overruled by a two-thirds majority vote in the lower house.

Earlier this week, the Japanese government announced that it has banned trade with North Korea due to concerns over the communist regime's latest nuclear missile tests.

Written by Graham McPherson