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GSDF troops to get 1st training for new missions at multinational exercises in Mongolia

In this Oct. 23, 2016 file photo, Self-Defense Forces personnel listen to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during an inspection event on the training ground of the Ground Self-Defense Force Asaka base in Saitama Prefecture. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Japanese troops will conduct training for security maintenance -- a duty made possible by legislation that went into effect in 2016 -- during multinational peacekeeping exercises in Mongolia starting June 14, the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) announced on May 31.

The controversial security bills, which allow Japan limited exercise of the right to collective self-defense, passed in September 2015 and permit Japanese forces on foreign deployments to conduct so-called "rush and rescue" missions to save people in trouble. Like these missions, the security maintenance assignments would permit Japan's troops to use their weapons for warning shots or to clear "obstacles." The training in Mongolia will be the GSDF's first for these duties anywhere.

Troops on security maintenance duty as part of peacekeeping or other deployments will be responsible for or surveillance, patrols, inspections and escort missions in order to protect local civilians and keep order in a specific area. All are new to Japan's Self-Defense Forces (SDF).

About 40 GSDF members from the Ground Component Command responsible for directing overseas deployments and other duties will take part in the Mongolian peacekeeping exercises. The troops will practice protecting a United Nations facility and how to react to an advancing crowd, among other duties. The SDF is not currently participating in any peacekeeping missions, but one senior GSDF officer told the Mainichi Shimbun, "We are joining the (Mongolian) exercises from the perspective of accumulating knowhow for the future."

(Japanese original by Hiroshi Maetani, City News Department)

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