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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 September 9 - 15  > Condition no longer met for SDF to take part in PKOs in South Sudan due to collapse of ceasefire deal: JCP Inoue
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2015 September 9 - 15 [SDF]

Condition no longer met for SDF to take part in PKOs in South Sudan due to collapse of ceasefire deal: JCP Inoue

September 10, 2015
Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Inoue Satoshi criticized the central government for seeking to expand the scope of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force mission in South Sudan as part of UN Peacekeeping Operations by enacting the proposed war bills.

Inoue at a meeting of the House of Councilors Special Committee on the “peace and security” legislation on September 9 pointed out that the a condition for GSDF participation in PKOs in South Sudan is no longer being met because the ceasefire agreement between the parties there broke down.

Clashes between the government army and the rebels in South Sudan have created more than two million refugees. The government forces frequently commit human rights abuses including the killing of women and children. The South Sudan government has already violated the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) 102 times by attacking PKO units or the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) and unfairly capturing and detaining UNMISS personnel. Of the 102 incidents, 92 were caused by the government security forces.

Inoue said that the GSDF may be regarded as an enemy at any time from one side or sometimes from both sides if the GSDF becomes more deeply involved in the South Sudan conflict in which militias and civilians are involved. The JCP legislator demanded that the war bills be withdrawn as this legislation would help stir up anti-Japan sentiments in disputed areas.

Defense Minister Nakatani Gen insisted that the situation in South Sudan is not an armed conflict by saying, “I don’t think that that is an armed conflict.” Inoue replied, “If you believe that, you would be willing to dispatch the SDF to anywhere in the world.”

Furthermore, the defense minister hinted at sending the GSDF to PKOs in Iraq after revising the Act on Cooperation in UN PKOs. The revision is part of the pending war bills.

Japan dispatched the SDF to Samawah in Iraq in 2004-2006, but the then government promised that SDF units would not take part in PKO missions because there was no ceasefire agreement in Iraq.

The revised PKO law, if enacted, will allow SDF personnel to carry weapons not only for self-defense but also for vaguely defined “wider purposes” in order to carry out PKO operations. Japan at present depends on foreign troops to ensure the security of the SDF in overseas missions, but the revised law will enable the SDF to engage when deemed necessary while on overseas duty.

Past related articles:
> SDF top to Washington: War bills will be enacted by this summer [September 3, 2015]
> Thorough investigation into MOD documents is essential [August 19, 2015]
> MOD admits it prepared for enactment of war bills which are still under Diet discussion [August 18, 2015]
> MOD already plans to reorganize SDF units in line with war bills [August 12, 2015]
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