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|Thursday, September 06, 2001, updated at 13:42(GMT+8)|
Japan Considering Possible SDF Dispatch to East TimorJapan is studying the possibility to dispatch Self-Defense Forces (SDF) personnel to East Timor next year to take part in U.N. peacekeeping operations (PKO), Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said Thursday.
"We are considering the possibility of whether to dispatch the SDF to assist in PKO activities once the U.N.-administered territory becomes independent," the top government spokesman said at a news conference.
While studying the possibility, Japanese government will have to address the question of whether to dispatch the forces under a 1992 law that allows Japan to send them overseas only to perform noncombatant duties, or to lift a freeze in the law to allow the SDF to carry out tasks that could involve armed skirmishes.
The United Nations plans to maintain peacekeeping troops in East Timor for two years after the half-island gains independence next year.
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