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Changeover of SDF Troops in UN Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET)
March 13, 2003
- On Thursday, March 13, a changeover was conducted from the Second Self Defense Force (SDF) Engineer Group to the Third SDF Engineer Group of the Japan's Self Defense Force (SDF) troops currently under dispatch to the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET). The Government of Japan decided to transfer some of the materials and equipment (road construction equipment, prefabricated houses, etc.), used by the Second SDF Engineer Group to the Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. An exchange of notes to this effect took place in Dili on the same day between Mr. Hideo Fukushima, Charge d'Affaires ad interim of Japan to Timor-Leste and Engr. Ovidio de Jesus Amaral, Minister of Transportation, Communications and Public Works of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.
- This reduction in personnel of the dispatched Third SDF Engineer Group is based on a request from the United Nations (UN) as part of the UNMISET's reduction in personnel aimed at the full withdrawal of troops in June 2004. The number of dispatched personnel has been reduced from 680 to 522. The number of personnel dispatched to the UNMISET Headquarters will be reduced from 10 to 7 from April onward.
- Among the materials and equipment used by the Second SDF Engineer Group, civilian goods (road construction equipment, prefabricated houses, etc.) expected to be in surplus as a result of this reduction in personnel will be transferred to the Government of Timor-Leste based on its strong request as part of the assistance for self-help efforts of Timor-Leste.
- The United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET) was established on 20 May 2002 as a successor mission to the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) to provide assistance to nation-building in Timor-Leste. The dispatch of SDF personnel to the UN peacekeeping operations (PKO) in Timor-Leste started in February 2002.
- In addition to maintaining and repairing roads and bridges necessary to peacekeeping operations, SDF Engineer Groups have carried out civil assistance (performing duties to improve citizens' daily lives in response to requests of local residents and under the instruction of UNMISET Headquarters.). Their contribution to nation-building in Timor-Leste has received high praise from the UN and from citizens and government officials of Timor-Leste.
- The changeover of the troops and exchange of notes were conducted in the presence of Mr. Toshio Kojima, Parliamentary Secretary for Defense of the Defense Agency.
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