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Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi indicated Tuesday his government may amend bills to approve updated guidelines for Japan-U.S. defense cooperation so that related operations by the Self-Defense Forces would require Diet approval.

“The government must cope (with the bills) after thoroughly listening to the opinions of each party and parliamentary group during discussions in the Diet,” Obuchi told the House of Representatives Budget Committee.

Obuchi was responding to demands by Tetsuzo Fuyushiba, secretary general of New Komeito, the second-largest opposition party, that the government amend the bills to require Diet approval of SDF operations.

Under government bills submitted to the Diet last April, a basic plan for cooperation with the United States, including SDF operations, must be reported to the Diet in case of emergencies in undefined “areas surrounding Japan.”

Opposition parties, including the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, have demanded that the government amend the bills so that the plan requires Diet approval as well.

Obuchi also said he will consider another demand by Fuyushiba that the government report the contents of logistic support to be provided by the SDF to the U.S. military under the guidelines.

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