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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 February 8 - 14  > Concealed SDF reports imply need for withdrawal from South Sudan
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2017 February 8 - 14 [POLITICS]

Concealed SDF reports imply need for withdrawal from South Sudan

February 8, 2017
Reports compiled by the Ground Self-Defense Force in the UN South Sudan PKO have turned up although the Defense Ministry has been dismissing public requests for their disclosure claiming that it destroyed them.

The Defense Ministry on February 7 announced that it found the documents at the SDF Joint Staff Office.

In the reports, the GSDF troops described the violent situation which occurred in July 2016 near the SDF camp in South Sudan’s capital of Juba as “combat”. However, Prime Minister Abe has been trying to lessen the seriousness of the situation by using the term “collision”. Despite the Abe government’s denial of armed conflicts there, the documents unequivocally describe the occurrence of heavily armed combat. The reports also hinted at the difficulty in continuing with the UN PKO.

Among the reports, the one dated July 12 states that armed conflict between the government forces and the opposition forces spread over the whole area of the city and that there was fierce fighting around the UN House compound and the SDF camp as well. It went on to state that in the fighting near the UN House site, two Chinese peacekeepers were killed.

Journalist Fuse Yujin who made a request to have the reports publicly disclosed noted that although the situation in South Sudan no longer meets the five requirements for the SDF’s participation in the PKO, including the conclusion of a cease-fire agreement between parties concerned, the government is unwilling to provide information about South Sudan’s situation and the Diet has had very little discussion on this issue. “Under these circumstances, the Abe government imposed on the SDF units in South Sudan new duties requiring the use of arms. Hiding important information from the public will undermine the principle of civilian control,” he said.

Japanese Communist Party Diet Policy Commission Chair Kokuta Keiji said to the press that the SDF reports describe the situation in Juba as “fighting”, while the PM and the Defense Minister claimed that they were only “sporadic cases” in Diet discussions. Kokuta criticized the Abe government for sweeping the inconvenient information about South Sudan under the carpet.

Past related articles:
> Shii pushes Abe to withdraw SDF from South Sudan and give up on introducing ‘conspiracy bill’ [January 25, 2017]
> Shii points out that PM Abe is neglecting volatile situation in South Sudan [December 8, 2016]
> South Sudan is more dangerous than central Tokyo: PM Abe [October 14, 2016]

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