TOKYO -- Japan on Aug. 31 ordered the return of evacuation aircraft dispatched to Afghanistan. While other countries have brought several hundred to more than 100,000 people to safety, Japan has flown out only 15 people. The bungled evacuation effort, which met with legal and other obstacles, offers lessons to Japan when it comes to preparing for possible emergency situations in the Taiwan Strait or on the Korean Peninsula.
"Local people working in this country's organizations are our family members," Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi told reporters on Aug. 23, after ordering the dispatch of Self-Defense Forces to Afghanistan. The SDF's mission is to rescue not only Japanese nationals but also Afghans working at the embassy and other Japanese concerns, Kishi stressed.