The leader of New Komeito said he does not object to a view expressed by Taku Yamasaki, secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, that the freeze on Japanese participation in U.N. peacekeeping forces should be lifted.

Speaking before a group of reporters in Saitama on Saturday, Takenori Kanzaki said, “There is nothing wrong with our lifting the freeze at an extraordinary Diet session in fall, since we at the three ruling coalition parties have already reached an agreement on that.” The New Conservative Party is the third coalition party.

On Thursday, Yamasaki said in Washington at the end of his U.S. tour that the LDP would work toward lifting the freeze, adding that the LDP will also review Tokyo’s five conditions for joining U.N. peacekeeping operations.

He said the LDP will seek to revise a law on Japan’s cooperation in U.N. peacekeeping operations at the fall extraordinary Diet session.

Kanzaki, however, reiterated his cautious stance on the planned review of the five conditions, saying, “We should discuss things related to the review at the time of the lifting of the freeze within the Constitution.”

A 1992 law restricts participation by the Self-Defense Forces in peacekeeping forces and sets strict conditions on sending personnel abroad to participate in peacekeeping missions. The law stipulates that the SDF can only be dispatched to U.N. peacekeeping operations if a ceasefire is already in place.

The other four conditions are that Japan take a neutral stance among warring factions, that the recipient country gives its consent, that the SDF be ready to withdraw should there be any problems and that SDF personnel carry only arms necessary for self-defense.

Yamasaki said the last condition should be relaxed, maintaining that SDF personnel joining U.N. peacekeeping forces should be equipped with arms adequate to defend personnel dispatched from other countries.

The 1992 law only allows Japan to send SDF personnel overseas to perform limited noncombat duties, such as aiding refugees and building bridges, as part of U.N. peacekeeping operations.

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