Japanese Evacuated from Israel Express Relief at Homecoming; Dancer Based in Tel Aviv Says Bomb Fell in Neighborhood

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Passengers, including Japanese nationals, disembark from a Self-Defense Forces aircraft after arriving at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport from Israel on Friday night.

Japanese nationals expressed relief Friday night after returning home from Israel amid the escalating conflict between Israel and the Hamas militant group.

An Air Self-Defense Force KC-767 aerial refueling and transport aircraft carrying 46 passengers arrived at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport at around 6:45 p.m. on Friday, after leaving Israel on Thursday night.

According to the Defense Ministry, the 46 people were 20 Japanese, 15 South Koreans, four Vietnamese and one Taiwanese, plus six family members of some of those passengers.

It was the second evacuation of Japanese nationals from Israel by Self-Defense Forces aircraft.

After completing the procedures upon arrival, Michiru Shin, a 31-year-old dancer based in Tel Aviv, was reunited with her mother at the airport’s arrival gate. They hugged each other in joy and relief.

Shin moved to Israel seven years ago but decided to return to Japan after a bomb landed on a building in her neighborhood. She said that recently she would hear sirens and have to evacuate to a shelter two or three times a day.

“I’m so relieved to see my family, but with my partner and friends still staying in Israel, I have mixed feelings,” Shin said. “I believe they are not in danger, but I’m worried about the psychological effects on them.”

As the fighting intensified in Israel and the Palestinian territory of Gaza, the SDF transported Japanese nationals from the country on Oct. 20 for the first time. ASDF C-2 transport aircraft remain on standby in Israel’s neighbor Jordan, and also in Greece.