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With campaigning for the July 11 House of Councilors election officially starting Thursday, New Komeito leader Takenori Kanzaki says his party has to get the message out that the Self-Defense Forces will stick to humanitarian activities even after joining a U.S.-led multinational force in Iraq.

“I understand (the public) is concerned that the word ‘multinational force’ gives the impression that the SDF are entering a new stage” in their overseas activities, Kanzaki said in a recent interview with The Japan Times.

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