Japanese embassies to aid Afghan evacuations

Japan's government has instructed its embassies in countries neighboring Afghanistan to provide assistance if any Japanese nationals or local cooperators are seeking evacuation by a land route.

Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu said on an NHK program on Sunday that there are still a small number of Japanese citizens in Afghanistan due to individual circumstances.

He said there are also many local staffers of the Japanese embassy in the country and the government will have to consider ways to evacuate Japanese nationals and local people.

Motegi said some people may even try to flee the country by land, but this is dangerous and is not recommended.

He said he had instructed Japanese embassies in nearby countries to create a support system for such people.

Motegi referred to a ministerial meeting of relevant nations scheduled for Wednesday to discuss responses to the Taliban.

He said it's important to work with China and Russia, which have a certain level of influence on Afghanistan.

Motegi also revealed a plan to dispatch a government representative in charge of the Middle East to the Qatari capital Doha as early as this week for information gathering and negotiations with the Taliban.