Japan Rehearses Transporting Nationals after Afghan Evacuation


Yakumo, Hokkaido, Sept. 6 (Jiji Press)--Japan's Defense Ministry conducted a drill Tuesday to transport people in preparation for a possible evacuation of Japanese nationals abroad using Self-Defense Forces aircraft in the future.

The drill, held partly at the Air SDF's Yakumo Sub Base in the town of Yakumo in the northernmost Japan prefecture of Hokkaido, incorporated the lessons learned from the SDF's mission to evacuate people in Afghanistan, where the Taliban seized power last year, such as working with the Foreign Ministry to guard those subject to protection and check their identities.

In August 2021, the Defense Ministry evacuated a Japanese national and 14 others out of the Afghan capital of Kabul using an ASDF transporter, following confusion triggered by the U.S. military's withdrawal from the country. But the government was criticized for problems such as insufficient information-gathering and a delay in deciding the dispatch of aircraft.

The exercise was based on the scenario that an armed uprising has occurred in a hypothetical country, and that Japanese expatriates need to be evacuated.

It was conducted in a simulation format based on the actual flow of events and involving cooperation between the Defense Ministry and multiple SDF bases. This was the first such drill.

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