TOKYO, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- The Japanese government on Tuesday decided to assign controversial new security duty to the country's Self-Defense Forces (SDF) dispatched to South Sudan.
The decision was made at a cabinet meeting in accordance with the controversial new security laws that came into effect in March and allowed SDF personnel with more flexible use of weapons.
The security laws, steamrolled through the parliament by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party-led coalition, expanded the role of the SDF overseas despite their inherent contradictions to Japan's own pacifist Constitution.
Critics fear that the move could erode the pacifist Constitution and embroil the SDF in overseas military conflicts for the first time since the end of World War II, according to local media.
Since 2012, Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force unit has been deployed to build infrastructure in South Sudan as part of a UN mission. Following Tuesday's decision, expanded roles will be carried out by the next SDF batch scheduled to leave Japan in stages from Sunday.