Japan Prepares to Evacuate Citizens from Sudan

Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS
Satellite image shows a close up view of destroyed helicopters in South Khartoum, Sudan, April 18, 2023.

TOKYO, April 19 (Reuters) – Japan’s defense ministry has begun preparations to evacuate its citizens from Sudan amid deadly fighting, a top government spokesperson said on Wednesday.

Japan’s foreign minister asked the defense minister to use the Self-Defense Forces’ plane for the evacuation, said Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno.

“The government will continue to do its utmost to ensure the safety of Japanese residents in Japan, including the safety and evacuation of Japanese nationals, in close cooperation with the G7 and other major countries,” Matsuno said.

About 60 Japanese nationals were in Sudan as of Wednesday, Matsuno told reporters, adding the government was able to contact all of them and none of them were injured.

Heavy gunfire shattered a 24-hour truce in Sudan on Tuesday.

Fighting between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has killed at least 185 people and injured more than 1,800, said U.N. envoy Volker Perthes, amid airstrikes and fighting in Khartoum and strife across Sudan.