All national papers reported on Saturday that MOFA and the Defense Ministry announced on Friday that one Japanese national was airlifted from Afghanistan to Islamabad on an ASDF C-130 transport plane on Aug. 27. Yomiuri wrote that the MOFA officials and SDF members who were deployed to the airport in Kabul were also apparently evacuated together with the Japanese national. Asahi wrote that the SDF’s official rescue mission effectively ended on the same day, as Aug. 27 was the last day for SDF transport planes to operate at the airport based on the landing slots provided by the U.S. military.
According to Sunday’s Asahi, MOFA explained that only a few Japanese nationals remain in Afghanistan and they do not wish to be evacuated. The paper added, however, that there are about 500 local staff members of the Japanese Embassy and JICA and their family members who wish to be evacuated, according to a government source. Yomiuri wrote on Sunday that hundreds of local staff members of the Japanese Embassy and JICA as well as their family members boarded several dozen buses prepared by the Japanese government on Thursday but were unable to reach the airport due to the suicide bombing that occurred on the same day.
Nikkei wrote that Japan got off to a late start in its rescue mission as it decided to send the SDF aircraft on Aug. 23, almost a week after the U.S. and European nations sent military planes to Kabul immediately after the Taliban takeover on Aug. 15. Although Japan was able to evacuate most Japanese nationals to a third country by Aug. 17 with the cooperation of the U.S. and British militaries, Afghan staff members who have cooperated with Japan for the past 20 years remain stranded in the country. The daily wrote on Sunday that although the GOJ is planning to continue to help evacuating such people by keeping the SDF planes on standby in Pakistan, the rescue mission is becoming difficult as the deadline for the U.S. troop withdrawal is rapidly approaching.