The Defense Agency is planning to dispatch personnel to take part in the key operations of U.N. peacekeeping forces without reviewing one of the five conditions Japan attached to a 1992 peacekeeping law that restricts the bearing of arms, agency sources said Saturday.
The 1992 peacekeeping operation law restricts participation by the Self-Defense Forces in PKFs and sets strict conditions on sending personnel abroad to participate in peacekeeping missions.
According to the sources, Japan will be able to dispatch personnel to engage in the surveillance of a ceasefire or disarmament, as well as the patrol of buffer zones without having to review the condition that SDF personnel carry only minimal arms for self-defense purposes.
While SDF personnel could be placed in dangerous situations because of restrictions on the bearing of weapons, the agency will consider the dispatch of SDF personnel on a case-by-case basis, they said.
The agency will also seek an easing of the constraint to better meet the current state of world affairs, the sources said.
The remaining four conditions of the PKO law are that the SDF can only be dispatched to U.N. PKOs if a ceasefire is already in place, that Japan take a neutral stance between warring factions, that the recipient country gives its consent to their presence and that the SDF is prepared to withdraw should there be any problems.
The ruling coalition parties reached agreement on the lifting of restrictions on Japanese participation in PKFs at this fall’s extraordinary Diet session, with the Liberal Democratic Party planning to revise a law on Japan’s cooperation in U.N. PKOs.
Defense Agency chief Gen Nakatani is expected to convey Japan’s readiness to actively participate in U.N. peacekeeping operations to top U.N. officials during his trip to the United States commencing June 21.
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