Defense Minister Tomomi Inada arrived in South Sudan on Saturday to assess whether Self-Defense Forces personnel deployed there on a U.N. peacekeeping operation are ready to be assigned controversial new missions involving heightened risk.

Inada, who flew into the capital, Juba, in the afternoon, was visiting to get a firsthand look at the Ground Self-Defense Force's activities in the capital and to observe the security situation in the fledgling African country.

Under controversial new security legislation that took effect in March, Tokyo is considering giving SDF personnel expanded, and possibly riskier, missions to undertake as U.N. peacekeepers.