SDF ready to help destroy Syria arms

Kyodo

The government is looking for ways to help eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons, such as through financial aid or by deploying Self-Defense Forces troops with experience working for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, sources close to the matter said.

The OPCW said Saturday that the Syrian government has finished disclosing details of its chemical weapons program to the organization under a U.S.-Russian plan to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons by mid-2014.

The Foreign Ministry and the Defense Ministry are expected to speed up preparations in case Japan is formally asked to support the elimination process.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to announce in a speech at a U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York later this month that Tokyo will cooperate actively in eradicating chemical weapons.

Japan has dispatched six staffers, including SDF members, to the OPCW based in the Netherlands. According to the sources, the government is considering whether it will be possible to have some of them involved in the OPCW’s inspection operations.

The government will also likely consider dispatching more personnel to the OPCW and offering equipment for removing and destroying the weapons.