By Kitagawa Shigefumi
Afghans living in Japan are calling on the Japanese government to help their family members evacuate from Afghanistan, where the Taliban Islamist group has seized power. They say their family members are in danger of being persecuted on the grounds of their cooperation with the former Afghan government, religion, ethnicity, and gender. These people are not subject to the Japanese government’s assistance for evacuation from the Middle Eastern country, but Afghans in Japan are calling on Tokyo to issue “lifesaving visas” to them from a humanitarian perspective.
A 49-year-old Afghan man is at the center of the campaign. He came to Japan in 1992 to work for the Afghan Embassy but left the job due to a civil war back home. After receiving special permission to stay in Japan, he obtained permanent resident status. He has been living in Japan for about 30 years and was asked by his fellow Afghans whether there is any way for their family members to evacuate to Japan.
Accordingly, he made a list of 109 people from 29 families who want to evacuate to Japan and submitted the list to an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in late August. He also called on the ministry to issue visas to allow the family members of Afghan nationals in Japan to stay in Japan.
The request was discussed by opposition party lawmakers during a meeting on refugees on Aug. 9. A MOFA official only told the Tokyo Shimbun, “We are handling each individual case carefully because they are under different circumstances.” (Abridged)