International Peace Cooperation Assignment for Rwandan Refugees


Republic of Rwanda


Democratic Republic of the Congo (former Zaire)


Many people who fled Rwanda for neighboring countries during the civil war faced severe living conditions that led to a heavy loss of many lives from cholera, dysentery, and other diseases. At UNHCR 's request, Japan dispatched SDF units and other personnel to Goma, Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. from September through December 1994 in its first international humanitarian relief operation under the International Peace Cooperation Law. Japan provided support in the areas of medical care, sanitation, water supply, and air transport.

Refugees Relief Units

Performing lifesaving surgery(img)

Performing lifesaving surgery

Japan sent an advance team of refugees relief unit with 23 members and a regular refugees relief unit with 260 members to the aid of Rwandan refugees from September to December 1994. Both units were composed of personnel from the Ground Self-Defense Force. The personnel engaged in medical activities, including medical care for refugees, worked to control infectious diseases by disinfecting toilets and other facilities, and supplied the refugees with water. In addition, they helped build roads at refugee camps and provided logistic support, such as transport, in response to requests from local aid organizations. The patients for medical care were mainly those transported from refugee camps. Working under extremely difficult conditions and treating diseases rarely encountered in Japan, the medical care personnel treated more than 30 patients a day, including emergency treatment at night. They treated a total of approximately 2,100 outpatients and performed about 70 operations.

Air Transport Unit

 UNHCR and NGO personnel made use of this transport service(img)

 UNHCR and NGO personnel
made use of this transport

An Air Self-Defense Force unit transported Japanese personnel and supplies in C-130H transport planes between Nairobi in Kenya and Goma in Zaire (currently the Democratic Republic of Congo). Making use of its extra capacity, the unit also transported personnel and supplies for the UNHCR and nongovernmental organizations conducting relief operations. From October 2 to December 20, 1994, the unit flew flights of nearly 1,000 kilometers each way almost daily, for a total of 98 flights. It transported about 3,400 passengers as well as approximately 510 metric tons of supplies.

Liaison and Coordination Personnel

In order to support the units sent for the relief of Rwandan refugees, a total of 22 personnel from concerned agencies, including the Prime Minister's Office, Japan Defense Agency, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, were dispatched to ensure that around 10 liaison and coordination personnel were always stationed in Nairobi and Goma to facilitate communications and coordination between the units and relevant organizations.

Countries Around Rwanda

Countries Around Rwanda(img)

Area Around Goma

Area Around Goma(img)

Outflows of Rwandan Refugees

Outflows of Rwandan Refugees(img)

Billeting Area and Environs

Billeting Area and Environs(img)