Defense Ministry Supports Only Small Sudan Mission

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

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Tokyo -- The Kan cabinet decided today to extend the deployment of two GSDF administrative officers in the UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan for an additional year to the end of June 2011.

However, the Defense Ministry opposes a major expansion of the current GSDF role in Sudan, with Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa telling Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada on June 11 that he "would not do the Sudan thing," according to the Asahi Shinbun.

The Foreign Ministry is said to support an enhanced GSDF mission in Sudan "very strongly," but Kitazawa is dead set against it, citing the enormous financial cost of such a mission and the uncertain security conditions in the inland areas.

The current Japanese mission in Sudan, supported by both ministries, consists of two Japanese officers managing the database for security information at the UN headquarters in Khartoum.

This samller mission, under the terms of the International Peace Cooperation Law of 1992, has been ongoing since October 2008.

The United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) was established in March 2005 following a peace agreement signed between parties in Northern and Southern Sudan. 67 countries and more than 10,000 troops have participated in UNMIS activities.

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