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A national group of judges endorsed Wednesday a bid by International Court of Justice President Hisashi Owada to seek re-election as a judge of the world court in a fall 2011 poll, the Foreign Ministry said.

The 77-year-old former diplomat and father of Crown Princess Masako who has been serving as an ICJ judge since 2003 won approval for his re-election bid by the members of the national group of the Permanent Court of Arbitration. He assumed the presidency of the international judicial body in February last year.

The Hague-based judicial organ of the United Nations is composed of 15 judges elected to nine-year terms of office by the U.N. General Assembly and the Security Council. In order to be elected, a candidate must receive an absolute majority of the votes in both bodies.

Five of the 15 judges are elected every three years.

The ICJ, which was established in 1945, settles legal disputes presented to it by member states in accordance with international law.

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