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Japan to extend dispatch of forces to U.N. mission in South Sudan

  • May 13, 2020
  • , Kyodo News , 7:41 p.m.
  • English Press

Japan will extend the dispatch of Self-Defense Forces personnel to the headquarters of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in South Sudan until the end of May next year, a government official said Wednesday.


The Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will approve the one-year extension plan by the end of this month after securing endorsement from the ruling coalition, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.


The global spread of the new coronavirus is also affecting South Sudan, but the government has determined that the extension is possible with thorough precautionary measures, according to the official.


The decision was made after the U.N. Security Council extended in March the mandate of the mission, known as UNMISS, until March 15 next year as it has repeatedly done since 2012.


The Japanese government said in the plan that the extension is aimed at contributing to “peace and stability in the whole of Africa,” as well as the “progress of the peace process” in the war-torn country in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the official.


In 2017, Japan ended its over-five-year deployment of Ground Self-Defense Force civil engineering units to UNMISS, but it has kept SDF personnel stationed at the mission’s headquarters since November 2011.


Currently, four Japanese SDF members work in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, according to the Defense Ministry.


Over the years, Japan has participated in peacekeeping operations under the restrictions of its war-renouncing Constitution, but SDF members are now engaged only in the U.N. mission in South Sudan.


The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus, in South Sudan stood at 174 as of Tuesday, according to the World Health Organization.


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