Japanese troops taking part in U.N. peacekeeping operations in South Sudan took on new responsibilities Monday, including the possible rescue of U.N. staff and other personnel under attack, and of playing a bigger part in protecting the camps of U.N. peacekeepers.

The government assigned the new duties to the 350-member Ground Self-Defense Force contingent that on Monday replaced a unit deployed in the conflict-torn country over the past six months.

The new unit will continue to undertake the Japanese troops' main task of building roads and other infrastructure in South Sudan.