Japan pulls the Self-Defense Forces out of South Sudan under a Self-Created Cloud

Japan pulls the Self-Defense Forces out of South Sudan under a Self-Created Cloud

Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

If Japan is serious about becoming a stabilizing international power then pulling out of South Sudan, under “dubious comments” by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, isn’t a positive sign. After all, ethnic and political tensions in South Sudan remain volatile and vast numbers of people have fled. At the same time, the freshly armed conflict – and squandering more resources on military means – all point in the direction of weakening an already fragile infrastructure. Therefore, it is difficult to understand why Abe is claiming that peacekeepers from Japan have fulfilled its mission.

It is true that the Japanese Self-Defense Forces have worked admirably under difficult conditions in South Sudan. Yet, this newly created nation state is in severe crisis. For example, ethnic hatred, enormous displacement of already vulnerable people, and with famine threatens several parts of Sub-Saharan Africa – including South Sudan – then Abe’s words seem at odds with the prevailing conditions.

Abe said, As South Sudan enters a new phase of nation-building, we have decided that we can now put an end to our infrastructure building efforts.”

Equally, the Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan, Yoshihide Suga, didn’t convince people after he tried to reiterate that the pull out was not based on security factors. Suga claimed “… the deteriorating security situation” was not the reason behind Japan’s decision to pull Japanese Self-Defense Forces out of South Sudan.

Reuters says, “Japan’s Self Defense Force will withdraw from the United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan when its troops return home around the end of May, closing a controversial episode in the prime minister’s push to expand the military’s overseas role.”

If Japan is genuinely serious about playing a powerful role internationally then the government mustn’t be tied down by overbearing constitutional restraints, an internal media network that piles on political pressure based on “self-generated emotions,” and politicians that seek an unrealistic approach to international issues. For example, several nations of weaker economic and military power have lost personnel during peacekeeping operations in many parts of the world. Therefore, if Japan is serious about taking a leading international role then a more potent backbone is needed – if not, then Japan will perennially be protected by America despite the war ending over seventy years ago. Similarly, unlike other economic and military powers, Japan will be hiding behind its own shadow.


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