Japan criticised after C-130 plane leaves Kabul with one passenger

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Refugees disembark from a US air force aircraft after an evacuation flight from Kabul at the Rota naval base in Rota, southern Spain, on 31 August 2021. - Japan was heavily criticised for evacuating just one passenger on its C-130 aircraft. (AFP via Getty Images)
Refugees disembark from a US air force aircraft after an evacuation flight from Kabul at the Rota naval base in Rota, southern Spain, on 31 August 2021. - Japan was heavily criticised for evacuating just one passenger on its C-130 aircraft. (AFP via Getty Images)

Japan has been criticised for evacuating just one passenger on its C-130 aircraft from Kabul on 27 August, instead of more than 500, according to local reports.

The Kyodo News identified the Japanese national on the flight as Hiromi Yasui, 57, who ran a business in Kabul and was also a stringer for the outlet’s Kabul bureau.

Tokyo has come under scrutiny for its poor evacuation plans, which were underscored by this C-130 flight last week.

However, the newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported that Japan’s ASDF was also able to evacuate 14 Afghan government officials a day before, at the request of the United States.

They were evacuated by the ASDF from Kabul and then flown to Pakistan.

Japan had dispatched three aircraft for the evacuation mission, believing that 500 Japanese nationals, as well as several hundred local Afghans working for the Japanese embassy and Japan International Cooperation Agency, would be evacuated.

Buses manned by American troops were reportedly gathering those evacuees on Thursday when a powerful suicide bomb exploded at the perimeter of Kabul’s International airport, killing more than 170 people.

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Japanese officials have refused to give details about the exact number of Japanese nationals still in Afghanistan.

“Upon considering the local situation and relevant countries’ movement, we’ve decided to move our personnel in Afghanistan to a nearby country temporarily,” Japan’s foreign ministry said in a statement. The spokesperson added: “We will continue to do our utmost to ensure the safety of Japanese nationals and local staff, and to provide assistance for their evacuation.”

On Monday, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution calling on the Taliban to allow safe passage for those seeking to leave Afghanistan.

As the last US troops left Kabul, the Central Command head General Kenneth McKenzie said that “73 aircraft that were already at the Kabul airport were “demilitarized” and that “those aircraft will never fly again... They’ll never be able to be operated by anyone.”

The Japanese defence minister, Nobuo Kishi on Tuesday ordered the withdrawal of the Self-Defense Forces from the rescue mission.

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