Japan’s international peace operations in South Sudan: Peacekeeping and civilian protection dilemmas
After the independence of South Sudan from Sudan on 9 July 2011, the Japanese government decided to dispatch its Self-Defence Forces (SDF) to South Sudan under the auspices of the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS). Despite the post-conflict military clashes in South Sudan, the Japanese government did not withdraw the SDF, but instead, the Abe administration assigned a new mission, the so-called ‘kaketsuke-keigo’ (‘rush and rescue’), to rescue staff of international organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGO) in preparation for possible armed attacks during peacekeeping operations. The new mission can be regarded as Prime Minister Abe’s ‘proactive contribution to peace’ (proactive pacifism) in action, and the policy is congruous with the purpose of ‘human security’ and ‘protection of civilians’. This paper aims to investigate Japan’s contribution to peacekeeping operations in South Sudan and examine associated dilemmas facing the United Nations, the Japanese government, and the Japanese peacekeepers in UNMISS – which need to be overcome for future international peace operations.
Keywords: Japanese government, kaketsuke-keigo, Peace and Security Legislation, peacekeeping operations (PKOs), protection of civilians (POC), United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS)