Japan Orders Air Self-Defense Force Planes to Djibouti as Sudan Conflict Escalates

Smoke is seen in Khartoum on Wednesday.

As the situation in Sudan escalates, Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada on Thursday morning ordered Air Self-Defense Force transport planes to be dispatched to the nearby country of Djibouti to prepare for evacuation of Japanese nationals living in Sudan.

The Self-Defense Forces will form a unit headed by the commander of the Air Support Command. It will leave Japan as early as the end of the week.

The government plans to keep the aircraft in Djibouti while assessing the situation in Sudan and deciding whether to dispatch a transport plane or planes there.

According to the government, about 60 Japanese nationals are in Sudan, including embassy staff. The SDF has a base for anti-piracy operations in Djibouti, where transport aircraft can be parked and maintained. SDF personnel already in Djibouti will also prepare to respond to the situation in Sudan.