Japanese peacekeepers arriving at the Juba International Airport early last month.

The South Sudanese government has criticized Japan for its decision to pull out its troops from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mawen Makol said that the South Sudanese government sees no threat against the Japanese troops in Juba as there is some relative peace in the country.

“The country is getting to normalcy now and this is the time where we are expecting the goodwill of the UN peacekeeping mission here in South Sudan to help until we finally achieve a peaceful settlement and peace in the country,” Makol said.

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“People are seeing some relative peace in the country so I do not see any reason for Japan to say the situation in South Sudan is still volatile. So withdrawal is not helpful because this is a time that we need a helping hand from countries like Japan,” he added.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced last week that the country would withdraw the Self-Defense Force (SDF) from UNMISS by the end of May.

Tokyo started contributing a contingent of 350 Ground Self-Defense to the UN mission in 2012 to assist in building infrastructure.

The peacekeeping mission was extended last November for five months, but the Japanese government immediately came under pressure from opposition parties concerning the security situation in the conflict-hit country.


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