Japanese evacuee from Sudan talks of relief after safe return

The head of the Japanese nonprofit aid organization Rocinantes has recounted the difficult journey out of Sudan and his sense of relief of returning home safely.

Kawahara Naoyuki was among a group of 48 Japanese citizens including family members who evacuated from Sudan.

They arrived at Tokyo's Haneda Airport on Saturday aboard a chartered flight from Djibouti.

Rocinantes has been providing medical, educational and other support in Sudan.

Kawahara told reporters that he is grateful to the people who helped make their evacuation possible.

He added that when he spotted Mount Fuji from the plane tears welled up in his eyes.

He described the overland journey from the capital Khartoum to the eastern city of Port Sudan as harrowing and said that he just focused on staying with the motorcade and reaching the port city where a Japanese Self-Defense Force plane would pick them up and fly to Djibouti.

Kawahara said the situation in Sudan is very intense and that he wants the international community to jointly intervene in arranging a ceasefire.

He added he hopes to return to Sudan once the conditions calm down.

When asked who he hoped to meet first in Japan, Kawahara said his wife Kayo as Saturday happens to be their 31st wedding anniversary.

He later met Kayo at the airport and the couple looked very much relieved.