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DEFENSE POLICY

The Activities of the MOD/SDF in Iraq

On November 28, 2008, the Japanese government decided to terminate the Air Self-Defense Force's airlift support operations that had been carried out in Iraq over four and a half years. The final airlift operation was conducted on December 12 to end the ASDF's mission.
    A withdrawal support unit of approximately 130 members is now conducting withdrawal operations to complete all activities by the end of March 2009.

Photo: Completion of the ASDF's operations
Photo: Completion of the ASDF's operations

Japan's Reconstruction Assistance for Iraq
Following the conclusion of major fighting in Iraq, the international community has been actively involved in the country's reconstruction based on UN Security Council Resolution 1483, adopted in May 2003. Japan enacted the Law concerning Special Measures on Humanitarian and Reconstruction Assistance in Iraq, and began the phased dispatch of SDF personnel to the country in December to undertake humanitarian and reconstruction, and security assistance. These activities have not only contributed to the stability of the Middle East region as a whole but also been crucial to the prosperity and stability of Japan, which relies on the region for approximately 90% of its petroleum supply.


C-130 transport plane
C-130 transport plane
The Activities of the ASDF
Since March 2004, the ASDF had been airlifting supplies and personnel related to Iraq's humanitarian and reconstruction assistance from Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait to airfields such as Ali (Tallil) in Iraq. Three C-130 transport planes had been mobilized to provide, as a rule, regular service of five flights per week. Even after the withdrawal of the Ground Self-Defense Force, the ASDF unit continued its activities to meet the needs of the UN and multinational forces. The ASDF's activities were expanded to Baghdad airfield in July 2006 and to Erbil airfield in September at the same year.


ASDF personnel leaving Iraq
ASDF personnel leaving Iraq
Termination of ASDF's Operations
On November 28, 2008, the Japanese government decided to terminate the ASDF's airlift support operations that had been carried out in Iraq over four and a half years, given that situation that the people of Iraq, on their own initiative, have proceeded with the reconstruction of the nation under a democratic government, as shown by the steady advance in Iraq's political process and improvements in the security situation.
    The final airlift operation was conducted on December 12, 2008, to end the ASDF's mission. From December 15 to 17, three C-130 transport planes departed from Ali Al Salem Air Base for Japan. A ceremony for the mission members' return to Japan was held at the ASDF Komaki Air Base on December 24 with the attendance of Prime Minister Taro Aso, Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada, and Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone, where the unit flag was returned.
    The approximately 130 members of the withdrawal support unit in Kuwait are scheduled to complete withdrawal operations by the end of March 2009.


Overview of Achievements
Overview of Achievements

Offering education on emergency medical aid
Offering education on emergency medical aid
Providing water to local supply trucks
Providing water to local supply trucks
A restored school
A restored school
Achievements of the GSDF
The activities of the GSDF were conducted in close conjunction with over $200 million in Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA). They have contributed to rebuilding the basic social infrastructure for the Iraqi people and expanded employment opportunities for local residents.

  • Period of activity: Approx. 2 and a half years (Feb. 2004 to July 2006)
  • No. of dispatched personnel: Approx. 5,600 in total
  • Medical services: Guidance in medical examination and treatment techniques at four hospitals (227 times)
    • Decrease in the infant mortality rate at Samawah Maternity and Children Hospital to one-third
    • Availability of basic medical services for all residents of the province
  • Water supply: Provision of water to the Muthanna provincial government's water supply trucks (approx. 53,500 tons, or water for approx. 12 million people)
    • Enable stable supply of clean water
  • Rebuilding and improvement of social infrastructure:
    Schools repaired: 36 schools
    Roads repaired: 31 locations (approx. 90 km)
    Local clinics repaired: 29 facilities
    Other repairs: 37 locations
    • Substantial improvement in the education environment
    • Alleviation of traffic impasses and congestion


Loading supplies
Loading supplies
Achievements of the ASDF
  • Period of activity: Approx. 5 years (March 2004 to Dec. 2008)
  • No. of dispatched personnel: Approx. 3,600 in total
  • Airlift operations: No. of flights: 821 (including 112 for UN)
    Personnel transported: Approx. 46,500 (including 2,800 for UN)
    Supplies transported: Approx. 673 tons (including 112 for UN)
 

History of SDF Operations and Iraq's Reconstruction