Tokyo, March 17 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday to allow the Self-Defense Forces to transport groups of evacuees not including Japanese nationals in the event of natural disasters and other emergencies abroad.
The lower chamber of the Diet, the country’s parliament, approved the bill to revise the SDF law by a majority vote with support from the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito, as well as opposition groups including the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.
The bill is expected to be enacted during the current Diet session through June 15.
Currently, Part 4 of Article 84 of the SDF law allows foreign nationals to ride on SDF-operated aircraft for evacuation carrying Japanese nationals. But the law does not presuppose a situation in which only foreign evacuees are transported by the SDF.
When the Taliban took power in Afghanistan in August last year, Japan sent SDF aircraft to evacuate Japanese nationals from the country.
The government decided to revise the law as there were many Afghans, including those working at the Japanese Embassy in Kabul, who wish to leave the country aboard SDF aircraft.