Japan to send troops to South Sudan

Updated: 2011-12-20 14:08


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TOKYO - The Japanese government on Tuesday endorsed a plan to deploy a Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) engineering unit to South Sudan to take part in United Nations peacekeeping activities there.

The engineering unit will work to improve infrastructure, including maintenance and repair of roads, according to a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

Government officials, who outlined and approved the deployment initiative last month, said that specific projects would involve the GSDF rebuilding the nation, with some of the first priorities being restoring its main transport arteries, including roads, other key supply routes and bridges.

The project scope has been made with a five-year deadline in mind and officials said a reconnaissance team will head out first to survey the South Sudan region.

The area has been ravaged by civil unrest and the fact-finding team are scheduled to arrive in January and thereafter up to 330 personnel are expected to be deployed by June, government officials said.

The latest government assessments maintain that the region the GSDF will be deployed to is relatively safe in light of continued violence between South Sudan's government forces and rebels, particularly in its capital city Juban and neighboring suburbs.