November 15, 2016 (TOKYO) – Japan has announced the approval of its troops for non-combative support roles under the United Nations peacekeeping operations in war-torn South Sudan.
- UN peacekeepers in South Sudan with one of their helicopters (UNMISS)
The 350 troops approved by its the Japanese cabinet on Tuesday, are expected to be dispatched under Japan’s new security law enacted last year.
"South Sudan cannot assure its peace and stability on its own and for that very reason, a U.N. peacekeeping operation is being conducted," Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday.
Japan has dispatched troops to South Sudan since 2011, but their operation has been limited to construction projects in non-combative areas.
Meanwhile, the Japanese Defence Minister Tomomi Inada said his government does not envision its troops rescuing other foreign troops.
Plans, according to Inada, are also underway to assign Japanese troops another a new role made possible by the new legislation, to defend U.N. peacekeepers’ camps together with the troops from other nations.
There are 12,000 UN soldiers deployed on a peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.