“Five principles” must be fulfilled in accordance with Constitutional restrictions in order for the Japanese Self-Defense Force (SDF) to participate in a peace keeping operation (PKO). The principles include the existence of a peace agreement among involved parties as a condition for participation in the operation.
Currently, roughly 350 SDF personnel are engaging in the PKO in South Sudan, which includes road and refugee camp maintenance. Due to the deteriorating local security situation resulting from the large-scale hostilities in July, the SDF had temporarily halted its activities outside its camp zone until just this month.
While the Japanese government considers the conditions of the five principles to be met, prolonged local instability would undermine the activities of the SDF, and may even force reconsideration of its participation in the PKO.
Meanwhile, the SDF is ready to start training for a “rapid rescue” operation that was included in the new security law enacted last year. Whether or not the trained unit will be dispatched to perform the operation will depend on developments in the local security condition. (Abridged)