TOKYO, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- Japan's Defense Minister Tomomi Inada's resignation was demanded by the main opposition party here on Thursday for possibly diluting the severity of the security situation in the South Sudan and in doing so allowing Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) troops to not be withdrawn.
Democratic Party lawmaker Yuichi Goto slammed the government for attempting to hide the real situation in South Sudan and accused Inada of not using the term "fighting" as that would have required Japanese troops deployed to the area on U.N. peacekeeping missions to be withdrawn.
According to Japan's pacifist, war-renouncing Constitution and in line with rules governing Japan's GSDF's role in U.N. peacekeeping missions, troops must be withdrawn from conflict zones if exchanges specifically described as "fighting" occur.
The Japanese government recently released records and daily activity logs of the GSDF troops that were previously deemed "lost" stating that troops in South Sudan should be careful of being drawn into "sudden fighting" in the city of Juba.
The daily logs were retrieved, however, from July last year when the security situation deteriorated in South Sudan, yet the situation was described then by the government not as "fighting" but as "armed clashes."
"In a legal sense, there was no fighting in South Sudan even if the logs said there was," Inada said in response to claims the government had knowingly concealed the situation.
Inada and the Defense Ministry were in hot water previously as on Monday the ministry said it had found the daily activity logs of the troops, having stated previously that they had been lost completely.
Goto said the defense ministry had tried to intentionally conceal the potentially damaging records of the troop's activities during a time when 270 people died in fighting between government forces and rebels in Juba, between July 7 and 12, 2016.
In the recovered logs, the troops said they must be "careful about getting drawn into sudden fighting in the city." The record also refers to the possible "suspension of U.N. activities amid intensifying clashes in Juba."
Japan has deployed engineers to South Sudan since 2012 as part of the U.N. mission. In November last year the government controversially assigned GSDF members there a new role, amid heated debate as to whether their responsibilities should be expanded further to come to the aid of peacekeepers and other non-combatants if they're under attack.