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Japan passes a democracy-muzzling Patriot Act

 Asia's rapidly mounting tensions just helped deliver a blow against democracy, with the Obama administration's backing.

The context: In late November, China declared an “air defense identification zone” in airspace over the disputed Senkaku (Diaoyu to China) islands, which Japan controls. On Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden raised hackles over this provocative step with Chinese president Xi Jinping, in what he called a “very direct” meeting.

China’s move was arguably intended to test Japan’s mettle.

Ironically, it is helping Japan’s right-wing prime minister, Shinzo Abe, advance his quest for a more muscular Japan.

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