SDF chief: Afghanistan mission to be reviewed

Japan's top uniformed defense officer says the Self-Defense Forces will evaluate their recent mission to evacuate Japanese people and others from Afghanistan.

SDF Chief of Staff General Yamazaki Koji made the comment at a news conference on Thursday.

The Japanese government sent three SDF transport planes on the mission in August, and ferried one Japanese woman from Afghanistan to Islamabad in neighboring Pakistan. The aircraft also flew 14 Afghans out of their country at the request of the United States.

Japan planned to evacuate Afghan staff members working for the Japanese embassy and international organizations in Afghanistan. But none of them were able to leave the country.

Yamazaki said the dispatched Japanese personnel conducted the mission with high morale and a strong sense of responsibility. He said the designation of a standby unit in advance and annual drills contributed to the implementation of the mission.

Yamazaki pointed out that coordination among the relevant ministries, US forces and local people is necessary for the transportation of Japanese nationals living overseas. He stressed the importance of building relationships for such operations.

He said the SDF plans to review the mission and to learn lessons from it.