Proposal to send SDF to Afghanistan dropped

Kyodo News

Due to the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, Japan has given up the idea of dispatching Self-Defense Forces elements to help the Central Asia state’s reconstruction efforts, senior government officials and lawmakers said Friday.

The government sent a research team to the conflict-torn country last month but only found the security situation worsening, they said. The finding caused a split over the issue even in the ruling coalition, led by Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda’s Liberal Democratic Party.

Many lawmakers said it would be difficult to present a bill to the Diet authorizing an Afghan mission in the next session, expected to be convened next month at the earliest.

Japan needs new legal authorization for an SDF dispatch to Afghanistan.

Fukuda’s administration considered adding new clauses giving legitimacy to an SDF mission in Afghanistan to the existing law for the refueling mission by the Maritime Self-Defense Force in the Indian Ocean to support U.S.-led antiterrorism operations in and near Afghanistan.

The government studied the possibility of flying CH-47 helicopters and C-130 cargo planes to help transport missions of the International Security Assistance Force, the government officials said.