Dispatch of Second PKO Unit to South Sudan

The Ministry of Defense dispatched a fact-finding mission team to South Sudan from May 2 to 5, with the aim of gaining a detailed understanding of the local situation and the activities of unit dispatched to South Sudan.

On May 10, a ministerial meeting was held between the Chief Cabinet Secretary, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Minister of Defense. At the meeting, a report was given on the results of investigation concerning the PKO in South Sudan, and the ministers shared information and exchanged opinions pertaining to the local situation and whether it is in line with the five basic principles governing Japan’s participation in peacekeeping operations. The report explained that military tensions between the North and the South were limited to the area close to the border at the time. Furthermore, the border area between North and South Sudan is far away from Juba, where the Japanese personnel are stationed. It was also reported that there is no particular impact on UNMISS and SDF activities as the possibility of military tensions close to the border spilling over into Juba is low. As a result of the ministerial meeting, the ministers concurred that there are no particular obstacles to the dispatch of the second PKO unit to South Sudan, based on the fact that military threats from the North-South tension are currently limited.

On May 11, the Minister of Defense issued orders for the dispatch of the second unit to South Sudan.

Joint Statement of the Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee (2+2)

In efforts aimed at maintaining deterrence amidst steady and prompt measures to visibly reduce the burden on Okinawa, the Japanese and U.S. governments have been engaged in tireless discussions since last year in order to arrive at a conclusion as soon as possible. As a result of their efforts, the Joint Statement of the Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee (2+2) was issued on 27 April, and the two governments decided to make adjustments to the realignment plan laid out in the 2006 Roadmap.

The points of the Joint Statement included the decision to delink both the relocation the U.S. Marine Corps personnel from Okinawa to Guam and the resulting land returns south of Kadena Air Base from progress on the Futenma Replacement Facility.

Specifically, the decision was made to relocate approximately 9,000 Marines from Okinawa to locations outside of Japan, and to station approximately 5,000 Marines in Guam.

In light of enhancing the overall deterrence capability of the Japan-U.S. Alliance by strengthening Japan’s defense posture and promoting dynamic defense cooperation between Japan and the U.S., the Japanese and U.S. governments are to cooperate on the development of training areas in Guam and the commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands as shared-use facilities by U.S. forces and the JSDF, and to identify specific areas of cooperation in this regard by the end of 2012.

With regard to the land returns in Okinawa, the land has been categorized according to areas that can be returned immediately after the completion of necessary procedures, areas that can be returned after replacement facilities in Okinawa are provided, and areas that can be returned after the relocation of Marine Corps forces to locations outside of Japan. A decision was also made to develop a consolidation plan for remaining facilities and areas in Okinawa by the end of 2012.

While the Roadmap stipulated that land returns south of Kadena would not be carried out until after the relocation of Marine Corps forces to Guam, the two governments have identified the land areas that can be returned prior to the relocation to Guam, which is a major step forward.

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