AOMORI, Japan (Kyodo) -- All of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force members engaged in a U.N. peacekeeping mission in South Sudan have returned to Japan, marking the completion of their five-year operation in the conflict-torn country, the Self-Defense Forces said Saturday.
The withdrawal of the most recently deployed 350-member unit took place in stages based on the Japanese government's decision announced in March. With no SDF unit serving in active U.N. missions, Tokyo is now considering other ways to contribute to international peace-building efforts.
The unit was mainly composed of members of the GSDF's 9th Division headquartered in the city of Aomori. The last contingent of 40 troops arrived at Aomori Airport in northern Japan on Saturday.
The GSDF unit has drawn particular attention back home because the members were the first to have been assigned expanded roles under controversial security legislation that Japan put into force in March last year. But the unit ended up without performing the new roles during their stay that began from around December.
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