Japan has reportedly started to withdraw its soldiers from a United Nation peace mission in South Sudan, after completing their five-year mandate in the war-torn nation.
According to the Sudan Tribune, spokesperson for the UN mission in the east African country, Daniel Dickinson, said that the Japanese troops would leave the country in three batches.
The first batch of 68 troops left the country on Monday, while the other two batches would follow later.
Dickinson extended his appreciation to the Japanese soldiers for the role they had played in the east Africa country.
“Some contingents of Japanese troops will begin their pullout [on] Monday, the rest will systematically follow. We appreciate their efforts and their services and dedication to the people of South Sudan,” Dickinson was quoted as saying.
Reports last month indicated that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that Japan would not renew the mission after the current rotation was complete.
The 350-person team has focused on road construction.
The team, which arrived in South Sudan in November, was Japan’s first with an expanded mandate to use force if necessary to protect civilians and UN staff.
The Japanese military’s use of force is limited by the post-World War II constitution.
Abe said Japan would continue to assist South Sudan in other ways, such as with food and humanitarian support, and would keep some personnel at the UN peacekeeping command office.