At a symposium held in Tokyo on Dec. 2, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister Nakatani Gen noted that the evacuation of Japanese nationals from Afghanistan “taught us that we must be thorough in collecting information.” He pointed out the “need for a [permanent] framework to discuss the prompt dispatch of Self-Defense Forces aircraft [in crisis situations].”
In August, the government sent SDF planes to Afghanistan to rescue Japanese nationals as well as local people who worked for Japan, but a delay in Japan’s initial response drew criticism. Nakatani stressed the importance of improving the government’s ability to collect information to facilitate decision-making and preparations for the dispatch of SDF aircraft [in crisis situations].
He also proposed simplifying procedures that require Cabinet approval and allowing the Ministry of Defense to decide, at its own discretion, the dispatch of SDF aircraft to area airports.
In Afghanistan, the Taliban, an Islamic group, continues to control of capital Kabul and the security situation there is deteriorating. “The Japanese government must not only help Japanese nationals but also extend humanitarian assistance in a broader way,” he said.
He also noted that the government should consider helping other countries transport their nationals upon request. “At the request of the U.S. military, Japan rescued local people for the U.S. military. This was good from the perspective of further building our two nations’ confidence in each other.”