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Gov’t mulls adding rescue missions to SDF duties in S. Sudan after security bill passage

  • 2015-07-29 15:00:00
  • , Mainichi
  • Translation

(Mainichi: July 29, 2015 – Top play)


 The government has begun considering adding rescue missions to the duties of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) participating in UN peacekeeping operations (PKO) in South Sudan. It is also thinking of increasing personnel in the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) headquarters. This was revealed by several government sources. The current PKO Cooperation Law does not allow the SDF to conduct rescue missions, but the passage of the security bills, which contain amendments to the PKO law, will make this possible. The new duty will be added as soon as next March.


 Although interpellations on the security bills in the House of Councillors have just started, the government has already begun preparations in anticipation of the passage of the bills in the current Diet session. If the bills are enacted, the new duty will be implemented as soon as next March. The cabinet will approve a new operational plan, where rescue missions will be added to the duties of the SDF contingent.


 Since training will be required for this new duty, there is also a proposal to add the new duty when the SDF members are rotated next June, in order to have ample time for training.


 In actual operations, the rescue of NGO personnel detained by armed insurgents at the request of NGOs is being contemplated. Taking up this duty will enhance appreciation for Japan’s share in international responsibilities, but there is also concern that the SDF may be embroiled in actual combat.


 The security bills also provide for the increase of SDF involvement in PKO headquarters operations. The government is also considering sending more personnel to the South Sudan PKO headquarters at the UN’s request.


 However, the SDF will not take up other duties included in the security bills, such as protection of civilians, operation of checkpoints, and other security operations, in South Sudan. Although there is increasing need in that country due to the unstable security situation, a government source pointed out that “Japan has not received any requests other than those pertaining to construction of infrastructure.” (Slightly abridged)

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