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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 November 16 - 22  > Abe gov’t imposes unconstitutional new duties on SDF dispatched to South Sudan PKO
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2016 November 16 - 22 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Abe gov’t imposes unconstitutional new duties on SDF dispatched to South Sudan PKO

November 16, 2016
The Abe Cabinet on November 15 decided to assign new duties involving the use of arms to SDF troops in the UN PKO mission in South Sudan based on the unconstitutional national security-related laws (war laws).

The new duties include a “rush to rescue” duty, (“kaketsuke-keigo”), which means that armed SDF units will rush off to the rescue of UN staff or NGO staff under attack in remote locations in response to requests and a joint defense duty which means that SDF units will defend their camps in collaboration with other countries’ peacekeeping troops.

The government explains that “kaketsuke-keigo” will be carried out only in South Sudan’s capital Juba where the SDF is stationed and in the surrounding areas. The government also insists that it will withdraw the SDF when their safety is endangered.

However, the situation in South Sudan has been aggravated since armed conflicts between forces loyal to the president and the vice-president occurred in December 2013. Under this circumstance, the SDF’s new tasks would incur the risk of fighting against even South Sudanese government soldiers, which is tantamount to the use of arms abroad which is prohibited under Article 9 of the Constitution.

Later on the same day, an antiwar group consisting of citizens and NGOs promoting international cooperation, the NGO No War Network, issued a statement calling for the withdrawal of implementing the new duties and for contributions to be made using nonmilitary options.

The statement pointed out that the SDF’s new tasks are potentially dangerous as they will probably lead to the escalation of the on-going armed conflicts. It warned that it is highly likely that with the performance of the new duties, SDF troops will go into combat situations involving local residents and will risk suffering from or inflicting casualties. The antiwar network said that Japan should make a nonmilitary contribution in accordance with the preamble of the Constitution which guarantees the right to live in peace to any people and Article 9 banning the use of arms for solving international conflicts.

On this day, protests against the Cabinet decision took place at many locations across Japan, including Niigata, Tokyo, and Yokohama. In Tokyo, voices of protests echoed throughout the day near the Diet building and in front of the Prime Minister’s Office.

Past related articles:
> Abe gov’t decides to extend SDF participation in UN PKO in crisis-ridden South Sudan [October 26, 2016]
> Gov’t should withdraw SDF from South Sudan: JCP Kasai [October 4, 2016]
> Expansion of SDF duties with PKO will raise risk of ‘killing’ and being ‘killed’ [February 5, 2016]
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