|Subject: KY: Advance team for Japanese PKOs
departs for E. Timor
Advance team for PKOs departs for E. Timor
SAPPORO, March 2, Kyodo - An advanced Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) team left Chitose base in Hokkaido on Saturday for East Timor to prepare for the arrival of Japanese troops participating in U.N. peacekeeping operations (PKOs) in the region.
The team comprising 24 members of the Northern Army of the GSDF is expected to arrive in Dili on Monday. They will prepare logistics and conduct surveillance on areas where the troops may be dispatched, the Defense Agency said.
About 680 GSDF personnel -- the biggest number ever to take part in such a U.N. operation -- will arrive March 22 and April 10.
Due to recent changes in Japanese legislation concerning PKOs, it will also be the most heavily armed contingent of Japanese troops ever to take part in such operations, the agency said.
The agency also decided earlier to send seven female members of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF). It will be the first time for women to take part in PKOs and they will mainly engage in medical and communication services.
The troops will carry out operations such as building and repairing roads and bridges using 300 vehicles also to be sent there. They are also expected to work closely with their South Korean counterparts.
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