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PacNet #32 – The GSDF Will Go to Iraq Without a Blue Helmet

Japan’s Parliament has passed the Iraq Humanitarian Reconstruction Support Special Measures Law (Iraq Reconstruction Law). The law enables the prime minister to dispatch Ground Self-Defense Forces (GSDF) to Iraq to assist the U.S.-led coalition forces there. Japan has already sent three of its C-130 transport planes to Jordan to fly humanitarian aid from Italy under its peacekeeping operations (PKO) law. GSDF deployment under the new law will likely start in November 2003. Together with Japan’s naval and air logistical support for the antiterror coalition against Taliban/al-Qaeda forces, the GSDF dispatch to Iraq will mark a new era of Japanese military activism outside the United Nations PKO framework.