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Japan mulling sending SDF staff to help rid Syria of chemical weapons


The government is considering how it can contribute to the elimination of Syria's chemical weapons, such as offering financial aid and dispatching Self-Defense Forces members who used to work for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, sources close to the matter said Saturday.

The OPCW said the same day that the Syrian government has completed disclosing details of its chemical weapons program to the organization under a recent U.S.-Russian plan to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons by mid-2014.

The Foreign Ministry and the Defense Ministry are expected to speed up preparations in case Japan is formally requested to support the elimination process.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to announce in a speech at a U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York later this month that Tokyo will cooperate actively in the elimination of chemical weapons.

Japan currently has dispatched six staffers, including SDF members, to the OPCW based in The Hague, Netherlands. According to the sources, the government is considering whether it will be possible to have some of them involved in the OPCW's inspection of chemical weapons.

The government will also likely consider dispatching more personnel to the OPCW and offering equipment for the weapons' removal.