Japan extends peace keeping missions
Golan Heights, Haiti
Japan's government on Friday decided that it would extend tours of duty for its Self-Defense Forces who are in Haiti and Golan Heights on United Nations-led peace keeping missions.
The SDF's peacekeeping mission in earthquake-hit Haiti in support of a UN-led mission there will be extended by one year until the end of January 2013, the government said Friday at a Cabinet meeting.
Japan's SDF were originally sent to Haiti in February 2010 following a massive earthquake which struck there a month earlier leveling many parts of the country and crippling vital infrastructure.
Around 320 SDF personnel have since been involved in clearing rubble and repairing roads and bridges in Haiti.
In the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, the SDF who have been there since 1996 to aid a truce between Israel and Syria, will see their mission extended by six months until the end of september, the government also said here on Friday.
The decision came as a part of Japan ongoing commitment to assist international efforts to encourage and facilitate the peace process in the Middle East, government officials said.
Forty-six SDF members are involved in supporting the cease-fire between Israel and Syria and transporting daily essentials and other key roles as part of the UN Disengagement Observer Force, which has been active in the region since 1974.
Photo : UN peacekeepers of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) patrol the Golan Heights area between Camp Faouar and Camp Ziouani