Ja­pan troops for S Su­dan res­cues, camp de­fences

Op­po­nents fear mis­sion to in­volve fight­ing, vi­o­late pacifist Con­sti­tu­tion

The Star (Kenya) - - News -

REUTERS/ Ja­pan on Tues­day ap­proved a plan for its troops in South Su­dan on UN peace­keep­ing op­er­a­tions to con­duct res­cue mis­sions, amid crit­ics’ con­cerns the move risks em­broil­ing Ja­panese soldiers in their first over­seas fight­ing since World War II.

The new man­date, which will ap­ply to troops to be dis­patched to South Su­dan from Sun­day, is in line with se­cu­rity leg­is­la­tion en­acted last year to ex­pand the over­seas role of Ja­pan’s Self-De­fense Forces, as the mil­i­tary is known.

“South Su­dan can­not as­sure its peace and sta­bil­ity on its own and for that very rea­son, a UN peace­keep­ing op­er­a­tion is be­ing con­ducted,” Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe told a par­lia­men- tary com­mit­tee yes­ter­day.

“The SDF ... is car­ry­ing out ac­tiv­i­ties that only it can do in a tough en­vi­ron­ment.”

The Ja­panese troops are in South Su­dan pri­mar­ily to help build in­fra­struc­ture in the war-torn coun­try, but un­der the new mis­sion will be al­lowed to re­spond to ur­gent calls from UN staff and non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tion per­son­nel.

Defence min­is­ter To­momi Inada has said the gov­ern­ment does not en­vi­sion Ja­panese troops res­cu­ing other for­eign troops.

The gov­ern­ment also plans to as­sign the troops an­other new role made pos­si­ble by the new leg­is­la­tion, to de­fend UN peace­keep­ers’ camps jointly with troops from other na­tions.

Op­po­nents of the move fear the mis­sion will en­snare Ja­panese troops in fight­ing for the first time since World War Two.

“Se­cu­rity is a con­cern. If it weren’t danger­ous, why would they need to carry guns?” said Kiro Chikazawa, a Tokyo civil ser­vant who took part in a small protest near Abe’s of­fice.

Other crit­ics say the de­ploy­ment vi­o­lates con­di­tions for peace­keep­ing op­er­a­tions set in line with Ja­pan’s pacifist con­sti­tu­tion.

“It goes with­out say­ing that the op­er­a­tion must be ex­e­cuted within the con­fines of the con­sti­tu­tion and per­ti­nent Ja­panese laws,” said an Oc­to­ber ed­i­to­rial by the Asahi news­pa­per.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kenya

© PressReader. All rights reserved.