Two Japanese Air Self-Defense Force transport aircraft are heading to Afghanistan to evacuate Japanese nationals and local staff of the Japanese Embassy in Kabul.
The C-130s will be ferrying people from the airport in the capital to neighboring countries.
The aircraft left Iruma Air Base near Tokyo on Tuesday afternoon.
Mission commander Kaneko Shinichi told the SDF personnel he expects them to fulfill their duties and complete the mission even if they are worried about operating in a faraway land.
The SDF plans to start evacuating Japanese nationals and Afghan staff of the embassy and other organizations as early as this week.