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SASEBO, Japan — An advisory panel to Japan’s prime minister is poised to recommend a dramatic overhaul of Japan’s pacifist self-defense strategy that could put the country on its most aggressive footing since World War II, according to a draft report leaked to Japanese media Tuesday.

The panel will recommend shifting military forces closer to the Korean peninsula, lifting a ban on the transport of nuclear weapons through Japanese ports, and increasing involvement in United Nations peacekeeping operations, according to the Daily Yomiuri and the Asahi newspapers.

The report will be presented to Prime Minister Naoto Kan early next month, and his government plans to use it to update national defense guidelines by December, the newspaper accounts said.

The Ministry of Defense told Stars and Stripes Tuesday that it was unaware of the details of the draft report and could not comment.

If sanctioned, the changes would be a major shift away from military defense policies that date to the 1970s and before. Japan has prohibited the presence of nuclear weapons on its soil since World War II.

From staff reports

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