GSDF Iraq mission logs point to ‘combat’

Jiji PressTOKYO (Jiji Press) — Daily activity logs for the 2004-2006 Ground Self-Defense Force mission in Iraq, released by the 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.

Vivid accounts

Daily activity logs for the Ground Self-Defense Force’s 2004-2006 mission in Iraq, disclosed on Monday, describe the tense local situation in vivid detail, referring, for example, to an explosion of an improvised explosive device and an exchange of gunfire between multinational forces and insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades.

The log for Aug. 24, 2005, says, “Although combat between the multinational forces and local armed groups has ceased on a formal basis, they may continue under secret instructions,” suggesting that the GSDF troops and the multinational forces were communicating closely at the time.

A log written on one day in April 2006 quotes a GSDF member dispatched to an airfield in Basra, southern Iraq, where the multinational forces were under heavy attacks as saying, “I was awakened by the sounds of landing shells and an alarm, so I have to move forward with little sleep again.”

The member also said, “I’ve been horrified every time updated information [on attacks] comes in.”

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

According to the June 23, 2005, log, a roadway bomb exploded under a GSDF convoy, leaving a vehicle damaged. The attack might possibly be timed with the troops’ start of activities, it observes. Photos of the bombing site and the damaged vehicle are attached.Speech

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