• Kyodo

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The government aims to dispatch an additional 50 members of the Self-Defense Forces to a U.N. peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, raising the number of SDF personnel deployed there to around 400, a government source said.

The measure is in line with the policy, announced in May by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration, to expand the peacekeeping activities of the Ground Self-Defense Force in South Sudan at the request of the United Nations, the source said.

The government will also extend the troops’ deployment in South Sudan by another year, according to the source. They are currently scheduled to return Oct. 31.

The Abe Cabinet is expected to approve these measures soon, the source added.

At present, around 350 SDF troops are building roads for the U.N. peacekeeping mission in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, and surrounding areas. The country gained independence in July 2011 after decades of civil war in neighboring Sudan.

Abe’s government has concluded that the southern half of South Sudan, where Juba is located, is comparatively safe. In May, it announced that the expanded mission would cover the region of Equatoria, which consists of the country’s three southernmost states.

GSDF engineers started arriving in Juba in January 2012 to help build local infrastructure.

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