Japan's Defense Ministry is considering allowing Self-Defense Forces aircraft to evacuate foreign nationals in the event of emergencies abroad even if they do not carry Japanese citizens.
The ministry is now considering allowing SDF aircraft to exclusively evacuate foreign employees of Japanese diplomatic missions and government-related international organizations as well as their family members.
The ministry also plans to study how to enhance security information sharing with US forces and other allies, as well as ways to speed up procedures to dispatch SDF aircraft.
Prime Minister Kishida Fumio told a Diet committee that in
light of an evacuation mission in Afghanistan earlier this year, he instructed officials to examine how to improve the current arrangement.
he government sent SDF planes to Afghanistan in August following the Taliban takeover of the country. The mission airlifted one Japanese national and evacuated 14 Afghans at the request of the US.
But many Afghan workers of the Japanese Embassy and the Japan International Cooperation Agency were unable to board the SDF planes. They were among roughly 500 people eligible for the evacuation operation.
Some of the Afghan evacuees could not reach the airport due to bombings just outside the facility. They instead traveled to neighboring Pakistan by land and left for Japan on commercial flights.