• Kyodo

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The government said Tuesday it will offer extra pay to Self-Defense Forces members involved in a United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan who engage in new duties under recently enacted security laws.

The government will pay an additional ¥8,000 per day for each SDF member performing the new duties. It will also raise compensation paid to families in the event members engaging in the new activities are killed. That payout will be set at ¥90 million instead of the usual ¥60 million.

The move follows expressions of concern by SDF members and their families over the fresh responsibilities they have been assigned under the laws that let Japanese troops rescue U.N. staff and others under attack in response to an urgent request.

Defense Minister Tomomi Inada, however, has denied that the decision was related to the new tasks.

“You can’t simply say that the addition of new tasks increases the level of risk,” she told a news conference.

But public concern remains that the new duties have the potential to embroil the SDF in overseas military action that could be seen as violating the nation’s pacifist Constitution.

The ¥90 million compensation is on a par with the level set for SDF members engaging in anti-piracy missions off Somalia and for those involved in the emergency response to the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Currently, SDF members deployed in South Sudan under the U.N. mission are paid ¥16,000 per day. Those performing new duties will get ¥24,000 each day.

Some 250 Ground Self-Defense Force members from a unit composed of about 350 personnel tasked with the new roles have already arrived in Juba, the South Sudanese capital. The fresh troops will take over from the current unit on Dec. 12.

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