Japan seeks to secure safety of nationals in Afghanistan
TOKYO (Reuters) -Japan is in close contact with a "small number" of its nationals still in Afghanistan, seeking to ensure their safety after Taliban militants took over Kabul, the government's top spokesman said on Wednesday.
Amid a deteriorating security situation in the Afghan capital after the Taliban took control without a fight on Sunday, Japan closed its embassy there and evacuated the last 12 personnel, officials said this week.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told a news conference that none of the Japanese still remaining in Afghanistan had been reported to have suffered injuries, but declined to give details, citing security concerns.
Most of these were with international organisations, a Foreign Ministry official said, but also declined to give details, including estimates of how many there were.
"We are making the safety of the Japanese still in Afghanistan our top priority," he said.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said its last Japanese staff had left in June, prompted by worsening security conditions as well as uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic.
Another major overseas agency, the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), has never had an office in Afghanistan so it had no personnel there.
(Reporting by Takashi Umekawa and Elaine Lies; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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