JUBA (Kyodo) -- Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force troops will start leaving South Sudan on Monday as part of the process to end their five-year participation in the ongoing U.N. peacekeeping mission there.
The first group of troops to head home consists of about 70 personnel of the 350-member GSDF unit that has stayed in South Sudan from around December last year. All members of the unit are expected to return by the end of May.
The Japanese government announced the pullout of the troops from the U.N. mission in South Sudan in March, saying the construction of roads and other infrastructure by SDF members in the conflict-torn country produced significant results.
The currently deployed troops have drawn particular attention back home as they are the first to have been assigned new security roles under controversial security legislation that Japan put into force in March last year.
The legislation expands the SDF's role overseas so that Japan can more actively contribute to regional and global peace, but it has aroused concerns that the changes erode Japan's postwar pacifist Constitution and may embroil Japanese troops in overseas military actions for the first time since World War II.
Read the full story at The Mainichi