• Kyodo

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U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon made a fresh request to Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Friday that Japan dispatch helicopters on U.N. peacekeeping missions, saying some operations face difficulties due to a shortage of choppers, according to a senior Japanese government official.

Meeting on the sidelines of U.N. General Assembly meetings in New York, Ban told Kan that he believes Japan is capable of sending helicopters to areas where they are needed, said Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Tetsuro Fukuyama.

The U.N. chief made the same request when he visited Japan in August.

In July, Japan gave up on its plan to send Ground Self-Defense Force helicopter units to a U.N. mission in Sudan, due partly to logistic difficulties. But a GSDF helicopter unit was sent to flood-hit Pakistan in August to assist disaster relief operations.

Ban and Kan also agreed on the need for continued efforts to revive the six-party talks aimed at denuclearizing North Korea. The dialogue involving the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States has been stalled since December 2008.

Kan told Ban that Tokyo will work closely with Washington and other parties concerned on the resumption of the six-way talks, Fukuyama said.

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