Japanese government considers moving embassy in Afghanistan to Qatar

The Japanese government is considering transferring the functions of its embassy in Kabul to Qatar due to the tense situation in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said on Tuesday. The embassy’s work has been temporarily shifted to the Japanese Consulate-General in Istanbul, Turkey, the Japanese media reported.

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi earlier this month visited the Middle East. He told reporters on Tuesday that his talks with leaders in the region suggest that Doha, the capital of Qatar, will carry growing political importance. “The Taliban have a political office (in Doha), and we can expect various talks there,” The Japan Times quoted Motegi as saying. Motegi further stated that the government will continue its efforts to support Japanese nationals, local embassy staff and others who wish to evacuate from Afghanistan. “I believe various forms of communication will take place,” Motegi said. Japanese nationals at the embassy in Kabul were among the first to be evacuated from Afghanistan. Most of them were airlifted by the British military before Tokyo dispatched its Self-Defense Force aircraft last week as the security outside the Kabul airport worsened. Last Thursday and Friday, Japan evacuated only one Japanese citizen, along with 14 Afghan people at the request of U.S. military, to Pakistan. Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said that safe evacuations of the rest of Japanese nationals and Afghans who worked for the Japanese Embassy and aid organization remain a top priority.