The head of the United Nations Department of Field Support has said he welcomes Tokyo's efforts to enhance the security of peacekeepers on missions abroad. Former Indian diplomat Atul Khare, who assumed the U.N. role last year, was speaking ahead of a visit to Japan that began Monday.

"I hope that the efforts by Japan to improve the security of its own peacekeepers and also contribute to the improvement in the security of peacekeepers from other countries . . . (will be) a very good step forward," he told Kyodo News.

He said Japan has expertise that is needed in noncombat situations, too.