Japan to deploy new batch of SDF in South Sudan after adoption of controversial security laws

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/10/25 13:49:22

The Japanese government said Tuesday that it will send a new batch of Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to South Sudan in late November after extending the SDF participation in a UN peacekeeping mission by five months through March.

The government said that it will decide before the troop's departure whether to assign additional duties to them in accordance with the controversial new security laws that came into effect in March and allowed SDF personnel with more flexible use of weapons.

The new tasks will probably include aiding UN personnel and others under attack by armed groups and jointly defending UN peacekeepers' camps with troops from other nations, said local media.

The security laws, steamrolled through the parliament by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party-led coalition, expanded the role of the SDF overseas despite their inherent contradictions to Japan's own pacifist Constitution.

Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said that the decision will be made after "comprehensively" assessing the training results of the SDF personnel and the security situation in South Sudan.

Opposition parties, however, said that the new missions would probably expose SDF members to higher risks.

Japan has been sending its Ground SDF personnel to build infrastructure as part of a UN mission in South Sudan since 2012. The African country gained independence from Sudan in 2011.

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