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2008年7月 2日 (水)


(Jul. 2, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

SDF's peacekeeping role limited by weapons rules

スーダンPKO 部隊活動の範囲を広げるには(7月2日付・読売社説)

The number of Self-Defense Forces personnel slated to be dispatched to Sudan to assist with U.N. peacekeeping operations there is small. But Japan's direct involvement in peace-building efforts in the troubled African nation far from Japan is loaded with significance.



On Monday, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, in a meeting with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, announced Japan would send a handful of Ground Self-Defense Force members to southern Sudan to assist with peacekeeping activities.


The GSDF personnel likely will be dispatched to the command center of the U.N. Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) in Khartoum from August or later.

Under UNMIS and following the 2005 comprehensive peace agreement between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army, about 10,000 personnel provided by 69 countries have been assisting with the care and repatriation of refugees and monitoring the ceasefire.

Security appears stable in southern Sudan, a far cry from the situation in Darfur, in the west of the country, where another peacekeeping mission is under way.




Many in the Defense Ministry strongly cautioned against the dispatch of the GSDF personnel to Sudan, saying it would be difficult to explain the purpose of the dispatch, including why GSDF personnel should travel to a nation so remote from Japan.


The fierce heat and difficult living conditions, including poor hygiene, also were raised as potential problems.




Africa needs Japan's help


It is understandable that Japan should attach prime importance to peacekeeping activities carried out in other Asian nations. However, most peacekeeping activities currently are concentrated in Africa and the Middle East. Many African nations are capable of robust economic growth, but have been wracked by continual strife. These nations should not be abandoned.


(robust=強い、強健な) (wrack=破壊する、破滅する、船が難破する) (strife=闘争、紛争)

At the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Tokyo in May, the government pledged to double its official development assistance to African countries over the next five years. The government aims to establish strategic and cooperative relationships with every African state.


strategic and cooperative relationships=戦略的協力関係)

Japan would not be fulfilling its responsibilities as a member of the international community if it only provided financial assistance to African nations in need but failed to send personnel.


Only 36 Japanese personnel are involved in peacekeeping activities around the world, which ranks Japan 82nd as a provider of such personnel.

The number appears far too small when considering that in January 2007 the government redefined the role of the 250,000-strong SDF, making international peace cooperation activities "a main duty" of the force, rather than a subordinate one.



Sudan role could grow


The dispatch of GSDF personnel to the UNMIS command center could provide an opportunity for Japan to determine whether there are other peacekeeping activities in southern Sudan that would be suitable for GSDF units to be involved with.


Peacekeeping activities of the GSDF are limited to logistical support, including transportation of materials, humanitarian and reconstruction assistance such as road repair, and ceasefire-monitoring activities. In the future, Japan should consider expanding the scope of the GSDF's remit, allowing it to take on new roles such as guarding areas that need to be protected.


(logistical support=後方支援) (remit=課題、任務)

If the GSDF's remit were to be expanded, new laws would be needed. At the same time, the relaxation of a set of rules on the use of engagement by SDF personnel, which has been postponed, would need to be put back on the table.


Under the current rules governing engagement by SDF personnel, the use of weapons is limited to actions carried out in self-defense, and the safety of SDF personnel remains uncertain.

The current rules of engagement must be changed to meet international norms by allowing SDF personnel to use weapons for the execution of their duties. Responsible political policymaking demands such a change be made.



(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 2, 2008)

2008720150  読売新聞)


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