Gen Nakatani, director general of the Defense Agency, told the Diet on Monday that he would like to consider allowing the agency to dispatch Self-Defense Forces officials to the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

The remark was made at a House of Representatives Budget Committee session in response to questions from former defense chief Fumio Kyuma, of the Liberal Democratic Party, who insisted that the government should contribute to the U.N. office coordinating international peacekeeping operations, which is increasing its staff.

The agency’s Administrative Vice-Minister Ken Sato told a news conference later on the day that the agency will study if the relevant legislation allows sending SDF officials to the organization, adding that he also believes such a contribution is important for Japan.

The law stipulates that the director general can send agency personnel to international organizations that deal only with “arms control or activities based on the spirit of arms reduction and humanitarianism.” These activities include arms control inspections and medical and other humanitarian assistance.

Under this law, the agency has so far dispatched officials to three international organizations, according to an agency spokesman.

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