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2016年7月21日 (木)

南スーダン支援 安全優先でPKOを継続せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
PKO in S. Sudan should continue while putting priority on security
南スーダン支援 安全優先でPKOを継続せよ

Japan plays a part in U.N. peacekeeping operations in South Sudan to stabilize the African country. It is important to continue these missions while taking all possible measures to ensure safety.

Fighting broke out earlier this month in the capital of Juba between followers of the South Sudan president and vice president, leaving many people dead.

The Ground Self-Defense Force engineering unit taking part in the U.N. Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), comprised of about 350 personnel, suspended its operations, which included developing roads and building facilities for related organizations in the suburbs of Juba.

To help Japanese civilians evacuate from South Sudan, the government sent an Air Self-Defense Force C-130 transport aircraft. The plane ultimately collected four Japanese Embassy officials. We regard this as a broadly appropriate response.

The C-130 aircraft had to refuel at several locations before arriving in the country because it has a short cruising distance. To conduct more mobile operations overseas, it is vital to beef up efforts for the full-fledged deployment of C-2, a new primary transport aircraft with a range of about 6,500 kilometers.

The government also considered having the GSDF transport Japanese civilians by land from central Juba to an airport, a plan that was eventually put off as the local security situation improved. However, it is important for the GSDF to be ready to deal with a mission of this kind.

The GSDF unit is currently conducting activities around its base only, such as setting up tents for locals who have fled the fighting and supplying them with food.

The government will continue the GSDF missions in South Sudan, stating that the five principles for taking part in U.N. peacekeeping operations — such as a ceasefire agreement reached between parties concerned in the conflict — are still being observed. We believe this is a reasonable decision.

Reputation at stake

The UNMISS involves 62 nations, such as India, South Korea and China. If Japan hastily pulls out, the decision could undermine the trust that exists between Japan and the United Nations as well as Japan and other countries, while also causing doubts over Tokyo’s commitment to international contributions.

Since South Sudan’s independence in 2011, the Japanese government has dispatched GSDF units, rotating them at a pace of about once every half a year.

We believe that the GSDF’s engagement in building roads, which serves as a foundation of nation-building, contributes to the country’s stability and development.

Currently, South Sudan is the only country where Japan takes part in U.N. peacekeeping operations. We hope that the mission will be soundly implemented, as this can also help realize a “proactive contribution to peace” as advocated by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration.

A focus for the future is authorizing rescue missions by GSDF units, based on the security-related laws that have been enacted.

The laws enable them to rescue U.N. officials, civilians, foreign troops or others in South Sudan when they face attacks by armed groups.

The Defense Ministry has established rules of engagement that stipulate, among other things, limits on the use of arms, while also starting to study training programs for this kind of duty. The ministry is expected to authorize a GSDF unit, which it will dispatch to the African country in November at the earliest, to carry out this mission.

An emergency situation that will require a rescue mission could occur at any time, even if not frequently. The ministry is urged to make extensive preparations in advance and offer training programs.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 20, 2016)


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