Japan will withdraw 350 Self-Defense Forces engineering troops from South Sudan by the end of May, ending its participation in a U.N.-led peacekeeping operation that has been in place for over five years, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters Friday.

Meanwhile, SDF personnel dispatched to the U.N. mission's headquarters in Juba, South Sudan's capital, will remain.

Later Friday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga denied that Japan will withdraw the unit because of deteriorating security conditions.