A Japanese Self-Defense Force (SDF) plane, transporting 83 individuals from Israel, landed at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport early on October 21. The passengers included 60 Japanese citizens, 18 South Koreans, and their families.
The passengers were picked up in Tel Aviv as they sought to escape the escalating conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas.
They disembarked at the arrival gate at around 3:30 a.m., some of them carrying large bags. It was apparent that some families with small children had tired expressions on their faces.
This evacuation was prompted by the security situation in Israel, which had become increasingly volatile due to the conflict between Israel and Hamas. The Japanese government had been arranging for the safe return of its citizens and their families from the region.
Last weekend, a South Korean military plane transported 51 Japanese citizens, as well as South Koreans and Singaporeans, from the region. In addition, a chartered aircraft organized by the Japanese government brought back eight of its nationals from Tel Aviv.
According to the Foreign Ministry of Japan, approximately 800 Japanese citizens remain in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Meanwhile, the Defense Ministry has confirmed that two Self-Defense Forces aircraft are prepared and ready in nearby countries, should the need arise for further evacuations.
Even though direct flights between Japan and Israel are still accessible, the government decided to prepare for the worst-case situation by planning for the evacuation. There are already direct commercial flights between the two nations twice a week, but with the total number dropping, the government decided on October 13 to arrange for a charter trip and deploy ASDF aircraft to Djibouti.
As of Friday, approximately 800 Japanese individuals are still present in either Israel or the Palestinian territories. The government has made preparations by having two C-2 transport aircraft on standby, with one stationed in Djibouti and the other currently positioned in Jordan, should the situation deteriorate further.