Japan supplies ammunition to South Korea troops in South Sudan

Japan has supplied ammunition toSouth Korean troops serving in a UN peacekeeping mission inSouth Sudan, the Defence Ministry said on Tuesday, another stepin Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's more assertive foreign policy.

It was the first time Japan's post-World War TwoSelf-Defence Forces (SDF) have provided ammunition to anothercountry, the Defence Ministry said, and is the latest move toease self-imposed constraints on its military.

Responding to a UN request, SDF engineering troops inSouth Sudan on the same operation supplied 10,000 rounds ofammunition to the South Koreans on Monday through the UNmission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

Abe returned to power a year ago for a second term pledginga tougher stand against China, with which Japan is locked in abitter territorial dispute over East China Sea islets, and tobolster Japan's defence posture.

Relations between Tokyo and Seoul have also been strained bya separate territorial row and disputes over Japan's wartimehistory, including women - many Korean - who were forced to workin military brothels during World War Two.