TOKYO, Feb 6, 2005 (Kyodo) — Senior Vice Foreign Minister Ichiro Aisawa said Sunday he believes Japan’s Self-Defense Forces must take part to some degree in the anticipated U.N. peacekeeping operation mission in Sudan.
“I think Japan does not have the option of not getting involved at all” in the process, Aisawa, a member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, said on a program broadcast on Fuji TV.
“It would be difficult to discuss from the beginning the possibility of joining the U.N. Peacekeeping Force, but we want to make use of our experience in the Golan Heights and East Timor to steadily secure Japan’s own method of personnel contributions, without attempting too much,” he said.
In response, Seiji Maehara of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan called for more careful consideration, suggesting the government’s proactive stance is motivated by its wish to become a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council.
“The dispatching will follow those to places like the Indian Ocean and Iraq. There is a strong diplomatic motive of entering the U.N. Security Council,” Maehara, the Defense Agency director general in the DPJ’s shadow Cabinet, said on the same program.
Japanese government leaders have said they will study the feasibility of sending SDF troops to participate in a possible U.N. peacekeeping operation in Sudan following a civil war there in the event there is a request from the United Nations.
The SDF has engaged in support activities overseas, such as construction and transportation in cooperation with U.N. peacekeeping operations in Cambodia, Mozambique, the Golan Heights and East Timor under the 1992 law governing Japan’s cooperation with U.N. peacekeeping activities.
Japan is seeking to become a permanent member of the Security Council as part of the ongoing drive for U.N. reforms.