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A 1991 Diet remark by then Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu may be standing in the way of a looser law that would allow military commanders to order defensive fire while engaged in U.N. peacekeeping operations.

In September 1991, when the Diet was debating the peacekeeping operation bill, Kaifu said commanders of Self-Defense Forces units should not be allowed to give the order, saying the decision to use weapons falls under the judgment of each unit member when the life of that soldier or officer is threatened.

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