Japan wants to allow SDS to provide emergency transport for foreign nationals

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The government plans to submit a bill allowing Self-Defense Force planes to transport groups of foreign nationals in emergencies abroad, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said on Tuesday.

A bill amending the SDF law will be tabled in the current parliamentary session – possibly in early February – and will also revise a security clause in transport operations.

SDF law currently states that only persons of Japanese nationality are eligible for SDF air travel. While foreign nationals are allowed to board planes with Japanese nationals, SDF planes cannot be dispatched if there are no Japanese to evacuate.

The amendment decision comes after many Afghan workers from the Japanese Embassy in Kabul and the Japan International Cooperation Agency, along with their families, asked to be evacuated after the Taliban took control of the country. in August of last year.

After the revision of the law, these locals will be considered “colleagues who have worked together (with Japanese nationals) in the same spirit”, according to Kishi, and will therefore be subject to SDF air transport even without any nationals. Japanese did not evacuate at the same time. .

Kishi also said he had been instructed by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to revise the law to “avoid the misunderstanding that FDS can only be sent in cases where it is safe enough to carry people on board. civil aircraft”.

The government hopes to remove the security requirement for transport operations under the current SDF law.

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