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Peace Cooperation Activities in Sudan

On October 24, two SDF officers were dispatched to the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS). The dispatch marks Japan's first participation in peacekeeping operations in Africa since 1993-95, when Japan took part in the United Nations Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ).

The two SDF officers being welcomed by the UNMIS commander
The two SDF officers being welcomed by the UNMIS commander

Outline of UNMIS
Since 1983, the Sudanese government in the Northern area, which seeks to establish an ethnic Arab state, and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) mostly consisting of Christians in the Southern area had been embroiled in armed conflict for over two decades. A process to end this conflict was launched in January 2002 through the mediation of East African countries and the United States. A Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in January 2005 to end the civil war. In March of that year, the UN Security Council established UNMIS with the mission of supporting the implementation of the agreement, promoting the voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons, removing landmines, and carrying out other duties.
    There are approximately 10,000 people from 69 countries involved in the mission.

Japan's Role in UNMIS
Japan was requested by the United Nations to dispatch personnel to UNMIS, and, on 30 June 2008, then Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda announced at a joint news conference with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that Japan would dispatch SDF personnel to UNMIS Headquarters. On July 1, then Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba instructed his chiefs of staff and other officials to make necessary preparations for the dispatch.
    On October 3, Japan decided to dispatch two SDF personnel to UNMIS Headquarters based on the Law concerning Cooperation for United Nations Peace-Keeping Operations and Other Operations. The two SDF officers left for Sudan on October 24 and are scheduled to serve there until June 30, 2009.
    One is undertaking coordination duties within UNMIS relating to the general logistical demands of the military forces in the Logistics Office of the Military Headquarters, and the other is managing the database at the Joint Information Analysis Center Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the UN.

An SDF officer with personnel from Bangladesh
An SDF officer with personnel from Bangladesh
Significance of the Dispatch
The Japanese government believes that the stability of Sudan, which is the Africa's biggest county, would contribute to preventing the proliferation of international terrorism and enhance the security of Africa as a whole. Given the very strong interest in Sudan among the Group of Eight countries, Japan attaches great importance to its participation in UNMIS as a responsible member of the international community.

Japan's Role in UNMIS