GSDF Iraq Mission Logs Mention "Combat," "Stepped-Up Combat" in Samawah

Society

Tokyo, April 16 (Jiji Press)--Daily activity logs for the 2004-2006 Ground Self-Defense Force mission in Iraq, released by Japan's Defense Ministry on Monday, refer to "combat" and "battle" in Samawah multiple times and even report stepped-up combat in the southern Iraqi city, where GSDF troops were based.

The activity logs, totaling 14,929 pages and covering 435 days, were recently discovered, despite the ministry's initial claim that the documents no longer existed. They not only describe the troops' activities as part of U.N. peacekeeping operations but report and analyze security situations in the Muthanna province, which was covered by the GSDF mission, as well as Iraq overall. Descriptions of gunfights around the GSDF's camp are also contained.

The log on Jan. 22, 2006, says combat stepped up after militias opened fire in protest against British military vehicles starting patrolling in Samawah. It also notes that "chances cannot be ruled out" that the fight would escalate.

Against the government's explanation at the time that the security situation in Samawah was relatively stable, the logs confirmed that there were more than 10 mortar and rocket attacks in and outside the GSDF camp and that at least four rockets landed in the camp between October 2004 and July 2005.

The July 5, 2005 report points to the likelihood of successive rocket landing and mentions a search of the landed rockets across the camp. It also includes descriptions about mental care for the GSDF members.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press