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A group of noted security experts urged Japan on Monday to stick to its “defense-only” policy ahead of what is likely to be heated debate in the Diet over the Abe administration’s security bills to expand the overseas role of the Self-Defense Forces and beef up cooperation with the U.S.

In the eight-page statement issued by the Jieitai o Ikasu Kai (Group for Utilizing the SDF), headed by former Defense Ministry official Kyoji Yanagisawa, who was also an assistant chief Cabinet secretary, the experts insist that Japan should maintain the SDF’s established “noncombat brand” and take a different approach than the U.S. in contributing to world peace.

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