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Japan plans to send SDF to Egypt

Sunday 23 September 2018 10:05 AM

Sinai Peninsula
Sinai Peninsula

Japan is considering deploying Ground Self-Defense Force troops to the Sinai Peninsula, ostensibly to monitor the truce between Egypt and Israel. Deployment of the troops would be the first "international collaborative peace and security activity" under national security legislation introduced three years ago.
 However, Defense Ministry officials say dispatching GSDF units to the front lines would be difficult because of the dangers in northeastern Sinai, where radical terrorists remain active. The deployment plan is seen in part as an effort to give the impression that the new mission category can have some use in the real world.

The international collaborative peace and security activity category was added to the Act on Cooperation with United Nations Peacekeeping Operations and Other Operations in 2016. The law enables the SDF to take part in international peacekeeping operations other than those endorsed by the United Nations.

A peacekeeping force called Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) has been in Sinai since 1982, three years after Egypt and Israel, which had fought four wars, signed a peace treaty in 1979. The MFO has bases in the northern and southern parts of the peninsula. While the southern sector is relatively peaceful, the northern sector has undergone many terrorism attacks since 2013 when a military coup toppled the popularly elected Islamist government. Six MFO members were injured in one such attack in September 2015.