TOKYO – Japan will send Ground Self-Defense Force members to a multinational peacekeeping force in Egypt, the government said Thursday, their first dispatch to such missions overseas that are not under the command of the United Nations.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference that two GSDF members will be dispatched to the command of the Multinational Force and Observers on the Sinai Peninsula.
The move will also mark the first application of new security legislation that expanded the scope of the SDF’s international activities.
“We’ll be able to make more contributions for the MFO, and help peace and stability in the Middle East (by the planned dispatch),” the top government spokesman said, adding the timing of the dispatch and a Cabinet decision for the matter have not been set.
Initiated by the United States, the MFO — in charge of supervising the implementation of the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel after the Arab-Israeli War — has been in operation since 1982 on the peninsula, with Japan providing financial support since 1988.
Japan’s new security law, loosening the constraints of the postwar pacifist Constitution, took effect in 2016.
It allows SDFs to join in overseas peacekeeping operations, even if they are not under the control of the United Nations, if requests are made by international organizations.