1991 SDF Minesweeper Dispatch Pressed by Foreign Ministry: Documents

Politics

Tokyo, Dec. 22 (Jiji Press)--Japan's Foreign Ministry pressed then Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu to make a "political decision" to send Maritime Self-Defense Force minesweepers to the Persian Gulf in 1991, declassified diplomatic documents have shown.

On April 24, 1991, the Kaifu cabinet gave the go-ahead for the minesweeping mission, the first-ever SDF dispatch overseas.

Prior to this, then Japanese Ambassador to the United States Ryohei Murata proposed in an official telegram sent in mid-March to then Foreign Minister Taro Nakayama that the SDF undertake the mission.

Murata told Nakayama that Washington "coldly perceived that Japan only made an empty promise" when the close Asian ally refrained from sending SDF aircraft to transport afflicted people after the Gulf War began.

"It's an ideal opportunity for our country to regain its reputation after failing to make a manpower contribution. It's a matter of political decision," Murata stressed.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press