National / Politics

Japan's Kono reaffirms commitment to peacekeeping at U.N.

Kyodo

Japan will continue to make a positive contribution to U.N. peacekeeping efforts following its withdrawal of troops from a mission in South Sudan, Foreign Minister Taro Kono said Wednesday in New York.

“Under the banner of ‘proactive contribution to peace,’ Japan has made every effort to achieve peace and stability in the international community … we will continue to contribute proactively in peacekeeping activities,” Kono said at a U.N. Security Council high-level debate during the General Assembly’s general debate week.

The council adopted a peacekeeping reform resolution Wednesday amid calls for change to the system, including from Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Kono stressed that Japan will continue to train peacekeepers from other countries that contribute to U.N. missions including the one in South Sudan

“There is a need to fill the gap between what is required in the field and what capability and equipment the peacekeepers have,” he said.

Personnel from the Ground Self-Defense Force worked to build infrastructure and performed other tasks in South Sudan for five years until Japan decided in March to recall the troops, insisting they had simply completed their mission.

But allegations of a cover-up involving the troops’ daily activity logs stirred speculation that the security situation may have become too dangerous for them to stay.

Former Defense Minister Tomomi Inada resigned in late July to take responsibility for the handling of the records.

Kono delivered several speeches throughout the day in English, telling a conference on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty that he has been appealing to other states to join the treaty since he became foreign minister early last month.

The United States is among countries yet to ratify the treaty, which if entered into force would ban all nuclear detonations worldwide.

The CTBT conference adopted a declaration calling on North Korea not to carry out any more nuclear tests in the wake of its sixth test on Sept. 3.

“(North Korea’s testing) is an egregious challenge to the international disarmament and non-proliferation regime,” Kono said at the meeting.

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