The Cabinet on Monday extended the dispatch of two Ground Self-Defense Force officers to Sudan taking part in U.N. peacekeeping operations.

The two left Japan in October to join the U.N. Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) headquarters in Khartoum, where they have engaged in nonmilitary tasks, including database management and transportation scheduling.

The officers will continue their roles in the mission, “which is of high significance” and contributes to peace and stability in Africa, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The GSDF dispatch follows a request from the U.N., which began its mission in Sudan in 2005 after the conflict between the government and non-Arab rebel forces ended with a ceasefire. UNMIS is scheduled to run until April.

Sixty-six countries, including the United States, China and South Korea, are taking part in monitoring and supporting a comprehensive peace agreement.

Japan intends to contribute to the project as a “responsible member of the international community,” the ministry statement said.

In addition to UNMIS, Japan is involved in a ceasefire mission in the Golan Heights and a peace monitoring mission in Nepal.

Sailor held for rapes

KOBE (Kyodo) Police on Monday arrested a 26-year-old Maritime Self-Defense Force sailor for allegedly breaking into an establishment in Kobe that offers sexual services and raping two female employees.

Takashi Kanaguchi, assigned to the destroyer Suzunami, kicked in a locked door around 5:15 a.m. Sunday and raped two women working at the store, police said. One of the women suffered minor injuries when Kanaguchi allegedly bit her.

He reportedly ran off wearing a flower-print dress used as a costume at the establishment. Police received a call about two hours later from a Kobe hotel that a naked man had entered one of its rooms. They said they found Kanaguchi in a deranged state.

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