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Japan enacts broad anti-conspiracy law

Upper house votes in early morning session amid opposition protests

TOKYO -- Japan's parliament enacted early Thursday morning an anti-conspiracy law that significantly expands authorities' surveillance powers, overriding opposition calls for more deliberations.

The Diet's upper house approved the legislation after a night of on-and-off debate. The bill had already cleared the lower house. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had pushed hard for this law, calling it necessary to safeguard against terrorism at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The lower house, dominated by the ruling coalition, rejected a late-night motion of no confidence against Abe's cabinet brought by opposition parties seeking to stop the conspiracy bill from coming to a plenary vote in the upper house. The ruling coalition used a parliamentary procedure to bypass a vote at the committee level.

The law redefines what constitutes conspiracy to criminalize preparing for crimes including terrorist attacks. Abe's government had insisted that enacting the legislation was necessary for Japan to become party to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.


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