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The Liberal Democratic Party and prospective coalition partner Liberal Party agreed at working-level talks Thursday to revise existing legislation that prevents the Self-Defense Forces from participating in U.N. peacekeeping forces.

The LDP plans to submit the bill to the Diet after new bills to implement the Japan-U.S. defense cooperation guidelines are cleared. Diet passage of the defense guidelines bills will be a major issue in the coming regular session scheduled to convene Jan. 19.

It remains uncertain whether the revised bill will clear the Diet during the regular session. The revision is also expected to invite criticism from opposition parties.

The Law Concerning Cooperation for United Nations Peacekeeping Operations and Other Operations was originally enacted in 1992 to pave the way for the SDF to participate in U.N. peacekeeping operations. However, SDF participation in the U.N. peacekeeping forces remains frozen.

The parties’ working group on security issues also discussed the defense guidelines bills but failed to agree on such points as inspection of unidentified ships during economic sanctions.

While the Liberal Party pushed to allow the SDF to fire warning shots if suspicious ships ignored SDF orders to stop or change directions. The LDP opposed the proposal. The two sides are to to discuss the issue and other matters related to the bills later today.

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