• Kyodo News


Japan will end its flood relief work in Pakistan on Sunday and withdraw six helicopters and more than 200 troops of the Ground Self-Defense Force, the Defense and Foreign ministries said.

Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa, senior ministry officials and uniformed officers from the Self-Defense Forces made the decision Tuesday.

Kitazawa told the meeting that Islamabad asked Japan on Friday to end its mission to transport relief materials in central Pakistan because the situation has improved.

Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara told a news conference later in the day that the GSDF’s helicopter operations has been appreciated not only by Pakistan but also by the United Nations and United States.

“We plan to continue our support for rehabilitation efforts in Pakistan as a member of the international community,” he said.

The GSDF sent UH-1 and CH-47 transport helicopters and about 210 troops to Pakistan after Kitazawa issued an order Aug. 20 for the SDF to launch the flood relief work.

The troops transported relief materials in an area within a 200-km radius of Multan, central Pakistan.

Between Aug. 31 and Monday, the unit had transported about 172 tons of relief materials, including water, food and medical supplies, and some 40 personnel, including U.N. officials and medical workers, the officials said.

It was the first time Japan dispatched a GSDF helicopter unit overseas as part of natural disaster relief since 2005.

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