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A third group of Japanese troops arrived in Phnom Penh Saturday to join their country's first overseas military mission since World War II, a Japanese diplomat said.

The diplomat said the 84 engineering troops would stay at a transit camp in Phnom Penh before being deployed in Takeo Province, 45 miles south of the capital, to take part in the U.N. peacekeeping operation in war-torn Cambodia."All 600 Japanese engineering troops are scheduled to arrive by mid-October and will start their work to repair roads by the end of the month," said Maj. Kiyohiko Ota of the Japanese Embassy.

He said there are now 147 Japanese engineering troops in the country, including 34 who arrived Friday with their equipment at Kampong Som port, 125 miles southwest of Phnom Penh.

The Japanese Parliament in June passed a controversial law sanctioning the dispatch of ground troops in peacekeeping missions abroad for the first time since the end of World War II. The statute provides for the participation of a maximum of 2,000 soldiers in non-combat duties.

The Tokyo government last month approved a plan to send 1,800 soldiers to Cambodia to help the U.N. oversee implementation of a peace accord signed in Paris last October between Cambodia's four former warring factions.

Eight Japanese military observers arrived in Phnom Penh Sept. 20 and are scheduled to be deployed either to checkpoints for border control or to mobile teams for monitoring cease-fire violations. A total of 75 Japanese officers will also serve as U.N. policemen.

The 600-member engineering corps is scheduled to be replaced after six months in the field. By the time the Japanese operation winds down in October 1993, the number of Japanese soldiers sent overseas is expected to come to 1,811.

Cambodia's radical Khmer Rouge faction, which was ousted from power by invading Vietnamese troops in 1979, is refusing to cooperate with the U.N. operation. It has attacked government troops in violation of a cease-fire and refused to allow U.N. soldiers to disarm its fighters as part of the accord.