updated 3/27/2006 9:48:54 AM ET 2006-03-27T14:48:54

Japan's ruling party will consider new legislation that would clear the way for more military-oriented uses of its space program — a sharp departure from its current peaceful-use only policy — an official said Monday.

The Liberal Democratic Party's subcommittee on space development was set to meet on Tuesday and endorse plans to draft a bill to allow the change, said Kenichi Kawamura, an aide to the subcommittee's chairman.

The bill, which is expected to be drawn up later this year, would specify that the "uses of space will be possible within the scope of the right of self-defense," Kawamura said.

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