Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said at a press conference on Oct. 28: “Our country’s engineering unit would not be able to go to the defense of foreign military personnel and foreign nationals in a situation like the one that occurred in July that even UN troops (participating in the PKO) couldn’t respond to.” She was referring to the attack on a group of foreign aid workers that occurred in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, where Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) members have been deployed to participate in the UN peacekeeping operations (PKO),
According to an international human rights group and other organizations, South Sudanese solders attacked the building of a foreign aid group on July 11. They killed a local employee and assaulted several women in the group. The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) called for the Chinese military and Ethiopian military to dispatch their troops but they refused to do so.
Inada pointed out that even if the GSDF unit is assigned new duties, “they will carry out rescue operations if they receive an emergency request from the UN or an NGO in view of humanitarian concerns and urgency to the extent possible.” Inada reiterated that the GSDF unit will not conduct rescue missions that exceed the range of its capabilities.