Arab News Japan
TOKYO: Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu on Tuesday said Japan has been in close and intense communication over the past weeks with other nations in the Middle East concerning the serious situation in Afghanistan.
“We are discussing how to proceed with diplomatic relations with Afghanistan with other countries in the region, but I believe our medium-term diplomatic presence will probably be in Qatar. The Taliban also has a political office there, and various essential communications can easily take place there, so I think Japan will also move its base to Qatar from Istanbul, and we will consider relocating the ambassador there for the time being,” Motegi said at a press conference.
Like most other embassies in Afghanistan, the Japanese Embassy in Kabul has suspended its operations for the time being. Japan has set up a temporary office in Istanbul, Turkey.
The Japanese foreign minister noted how the situation in Afghanistan had escalated very quickly, not only far more quickly than the United States had expected, but most other nations as well, including Japan.
When asked why he didn’t cut short his Middle East trip and return home to handle the situation in Afghanistan, the foreign minister replied: “I was in continuous contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and other related officials throughout the tour. I even participated in the G7 foreign ministers meeting in Jordan. There was no need to abruptly end the tour in light of the communication systems we have.”
Motegi said about the Afghanistan Embassy in Tokyo: “There has as yet been no specific communication from the Afghan side. The status of the Afghan Embassy in Tokyo and the Afghan ambassador to Japan remains unchanged.”
Concerning matters of importance to Japan in its relations with Afghanistan and the new Taliban government, Motegi stated: “It is important to ensure the safety and access of NGO humanitarian aid personnel amid humanitarian crises, food shortages, and a large number of refugees. We can’t resolve it in a month. we need long-term and continuous humanitarian assistance.”
Motegi emphasized that “it is of the utmost importance for the Taliban to sever ties with terrorist organizations. The international community must make a united appeal.” He observed that “it is not mere words but how and whether those words are reflected in the actions of the new government” that are going to be of crucial importance in re-establishing stability and cordial, productive relations.
“There is still local staff from many countries who want to leave the country. Support for their safe evacuation is a priority for us.”