A nonpartisan group of lawmakers will draft a bill to help restore cultural heritage lost in Afghanistan, Iraq and other war-torn areas, the lawmakers said Saturday.

The bill, being prepared by the Liberal Democratic Party, coalition partner New Komeito and the main opposition force — the Democratic Party of Japan — will allow Japan to play a leading role in preserving indigenous cultural properties around the world, they said.

The lawmakers plan to submit the bill to the Diet before June 18 and will call on lawmakers from the Social Democratic Party and the Japanese Communist Party to cosponsor it, they said.

The draft bill says cooperation on protecting cultural heritage will help raise Japan’s international status and also calls on universities and other academic institutions to train experts in restoring destroyed cultural relics. It also emphasizes the need for the central government to provide financial support, they said.

The bill would require the central government to compile basic policies to implement the measures envisaged and urge the government to join hands with local authorities when carrying out the measures, the lawmakers said.

If a legal framework is established for the bill, Japan should step up official development assistance for the task, the lawmakers said.

The lawmakers expect ODA money to be used to foster human resources that will further their expertise in restoring cultural heritage and to finance purchases of the relevant equipment.

“Japan is being asked to make noncombat contributions to the global community, such as preservation of cultural heritage,” said Tsuneo Suzuki, one of the lawmakers cosponsoring the bill.

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