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NO.7
 
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DEFENSE POLICY

Being Engaged in International Peace Cooperation Activities

The international community now faces global threats including international terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and other arms, complex and varied regional conflicts, and international crime. Japan has declared that, alongside the defense of Japan, it will strive to improve the international security environment to prevent any threats from reaching Japan as one of the objectives of its security policy; it will proactively and on its own initiative engage in activities that the international community cooperatively undertakes to improve the international security environment. This article introduces the "being engaged in international peace cooperation activities," which were upgraded to a primary mission of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) when the Defense Agency became the Ministry of Defense this January.

1. Cooperation in efforts for the reconstruction of Iraq
The support ship Oumi departing from Japan
The support ship Oumi departing from Japan
Legal basis: Law Concerning Special Measures on Humanitarian and Reconstruction Assistance and Support Activities for Ensuring Security in Iraq

Purposes:
  • To assist the autonomous efforts made by the Iraqi people to reconstruct their country rapidly and to contribute proactively and on Japan's own initiative to the efforts of the international community for the promotion of this reconstruction
  • To contribute to ensuring the peace and security of the international community, including Japan, through the reconstruction of Iraq

Activities:
  • For a period of two and a half years from 2004 through 2006, the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) conducted activities including medical services, water supply, and restoration and improvement of public facilities. Among the results achieved were a lowering of the newborn infant mortality rate, assurance of access to a steady supply of clean water, improvement of the educational environment, and improvement of life infrastructure.
  • The Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF), using C-130 aircraft, has transported supplies for the GSDF, medical equipment, and other materials from Japan, and materials and personnel for the humanitarian and reconstruction activities of other related countries and institutions. As of October 26 this year the ASDF had conducted 600 transports, carrying approximately 550 tons of materials.


2. Activities to respond to international terrorism
MSDF supply ships assist maritime interdiction operations sin the Indian Ocean
MSDF supply ships assist maritime interdiction operations sin the Indian Ocean
Legal basis: Activities based on the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law

Purposes:
To contribute proactively and on Japan's own initiative to the efforts of the international community for the prevention and eradication of terrorism; to contribute to ensuring the peace and security of the international community, including Japan

Activities:
The Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) conducted refueling and so on for naval vessels engaged in maritime interdiction operations in the Indian Ocean, which were effective in interdicting the flows of weapons, funds raised from narcotics trade, and terrorists in Afghanistan. The approximate amounts of materials that the MSDF supplied included 490,000 kiloliters of ship fuel, 990 kiloliters of helicopter fuel, and 6,930 tons of water. The Special Measures Law expired on November 1 this year, and MSDF ships suspended their operations.


3. International peace cooperation operations
Training on the Golan Heights
Training on the Golan Heights
Legal basis: Law Concerning Japan's Cooperation in UN Peacekeeping Activities and Other Activities

Purposes:
To contribute proactively to the efforts for international peace centering on the United Nations

Activities:
Participation in UN peacekeeping operations commenced with the dispatch of an SDF unit to Cambodia in 1992. In order to make Japan's cooperation commensurate to its international status and responsibilities, Japan has been cooperating not just financially but also from the human aspect. Activities are currently underway in the Golan Heights and Nepal.


4. International disaster relief activities
The international disaster relief team working in Pakistan
The international disaster relief team working in Pakistan
Legal basis: Law Concerning the Dispatch of International Disaster Relief Teams

Purposes:
To conduct rescue, medical care, and other activities in response to requests from the governments of affected countries or others in cases of large-scale natural disasters and so forth in developing regions

Activities:
Activities are conducted proactively, making use of the functions and capabilities of the GSDF, MSDF, and ASDF, in line with the requests and situations of the affected areas. The SDF always maintain readiness to deal with such missions. At the time of the earthquake in central Java, Indonesia, in May 2006, the SDF provided medical treatment to approximately 3,800 persons and vaccinations to approximately 1,700 persons, and it carried out epidemic prevention work over an area of 4,300 square meters.