(Tokyo Shimbun: November 5, 2015 – p. 2)
The Self-Defense Forces’ Joint Staff, which is in charge of organizing joint operations by the Ground, Maritime, and Air Self-Defense Forces (SDF), announced on Nov. 4 that it will deploy the ninth GSDF civil engineering unit to South Sudan for United Nations peacekeeping operations (PKO). The GSDF will begin sending a total of 350 soldiers primarily comprising the 35th Infantry Regiment of the 10th Division, Middle Army (Moriyama Ward, Nagoya City) at the end of this month. The deployment will last about six months.
The advance team of about 100 members is scheduled to depart on Nov. 22 from Chubu Centrair International Airport (Tokoname City, Aichi Prefecture). The main team of 150 soldiers will depart on Dec. 2 and the remaining 100 members on Dec. 16 from Nagoya Airport (town of Toyoyama, Aichi Prefecture). The eighth contingent mostly from the 5th Civil Engineering Division, Western Army (Ogoori City, Fukuoka Prefecture), which is currently operating in the country, will return to Japan at around the same time.
The security laws passed in September will enable the SDF members deployed for PKO to “rush to the aid of civilians” who are in dangerous situations. The laws will be enacted by the end of next March. Whether the new laws will apply during the ninth contingent’s deployment “remains to be seen,” said the Joint Staff.
The Japanese government began deploying SDF’s civil engineering units for PKO in South Sudan in January 2012 and rotating them every six months.