International Peace Cooperation Assignment Operations in the Golan Heights

Since the first dispatch in February 1996, Japan has continued to dispatch a total of approximately 1,500 personnel throughout the past 17 years.

Headquarters staff officers carried out planning and coordination work in the area of transportation and development, as well as publicity work for UNDOF activities.

The transport unit engaged in the transportation of daily necessities such as food supplies necessary for the sustenance of UNDOF activities, and in logistic support operations such as repair of roads.

The Golan Heights region is a central issue in peace negotiations between Israel and Syria. Through the engagement of the SDF, Japan has contributed to the peace and stability of the Golan Heights region for many years.

As a result of the activities undertaken by the Japanese personnel, the capability and discipline of the SDF has been highly appraised by the U.N., Syria, and Israel, as well as the international community.

However, the continuous deterioration of the Syrian situation has had a serious impact on the Golan Heights region, and posed difficulties for UNDOF activities. In view of its responsibility to ensure the safety of Japanese personnel under current UNDOF conditions and the situation in the Syria including Golan Heights, the Japanese Government has conducted a comprehensive review of activities that can be conducted under these conditions. As a result of the review, the Government arrived at the conclusion that it would be difficult to carry out meaningful activities while continuing to ensure the safety of Japanese personnel.

Consequently, the Minister of Defense issued an order to conclude operations with effect from December 21. Thereafter, the Japanese personnel commenced withdrawal operations, and returned to Japan. On January 20, with Prime Minister Abe in attendance, a ceremony was held to return the flag of the Golan Heights dispatch transport unit, marking the end of the long history of international peace cooperation assignment in the Golan Heights.

United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) activities (Peacekeeping Operations in the Golan Heights) (As of 21 December 2012)

Transfer of the SDF materials and equipment in Haiti

With the withdrawal of the SDF from the Haiti peacekeeping operations (United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH)), Japanese personnel have since returned to Japan. However, with the aim of contributing to MINUSTAH operations and to the economic and social development of Haiti, the government of Japan has responded to requests from the government of the Republic of Haiti and the United Nations to transfer existing the SDF materials and equipment to them. This transfer was effected on December 18 (local time).

The engineering equipment that was transferred to the Haitian government included items that are defined as “arms” under the Three Principles of Arms Exports, such as hydraulic excavators, bulldozers, and bucket loaders. This transfer was the first case that was subject to the comprehensive exemption measures based on the Statement by the Chief Cabinet Secretary on Guidelines for Overseas Transfer of Defense Equipment, etc., issued on December 27, 2011.

Container houses, generators, and lighting set at the SDF camp were also among the materials that were transferred to the United Nations (MINUSTAH).

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