Approximately 40 percent of the 169 Afghan evacuees who came to Japan after the Taliban regained control in August last year have abandoned the country, citing pressure and a lack of help from the Japanese Foreign Ministry.
Although Japan has given refugee status to 98 persons, 58 of the possible Taliban victims returned to Afghanistan. There were seven evacuees who went to the USA and Britain.
In an unusual decision for a nation known for its stringent refugee screening policy and a dismal track record of accepting asylum seekers, the Japanese government officially recognized the 98 people in August as refugees.
They consist of the Japanese working at the Japanese Embassy in Kabul and their family members.
After overthrowing President Ashraf Ghani’s administration last year, the Taliban took back control of the nation after the United States decided to withdraw its soldiers from Afghanistan after 20 years of conflict.
The Japanese government intervened to help employees of the Japanese Embassy and the Japan International Cooperation Agency and their families. Because the Taliban were targeting people collaborating with foreign countries that had connections to the former government. The government provided housing, meals, and salary for the embassy workers and their families in Tokyo between October and December of last year.
However, several employees claimed to Kyodo News that they felt compelled to leave Japan after learning that their employment contracts would expire in late August.
They claimed that when ministry representatives visited their residences, they advised them that living in Japan would be challenging and that they should consult with their families before deciding whether to remain or leave the country. Additionally, they said that the minister assured them that if they went back to Afghanistan, their travel costs would be covered also they would get a 20 percent pay boost.
It is difficult for the local embassy workers to get employment because they speak English rather than Japanese after fleeing Afghanistan. An evacuee said that the public job placement agency Hello Work claimed they had a 1% chance of finding employment in Japan.
Their problems were made worse by other elements. Only spouses and children were allowed to be brought to Japan, not other direct family members like parents and siblings. And their kids couldn’t start school until the spring when the Japanese school year begins. The Second Middle East Division of the ministry has denied supporting their departure for Afghanistan.
A division officer stated, “We have supported them for a year, but we cannot pay people who are not involved in embassy work forever.” The ministry added that the Afghans’ return was motivated by personal matters.
One of the evacuees said, however, that they were still under pressure from the government and that they genuinely did not want to return. 98 Afghan refugees who remain in Japan have relocated outside of Tokyo. They were scheduled to enroll in Japanese classes for six months starting in October with the assistance of the Foundation for the Welfare and Education of the Asian People. 6 individuals have stayed in Japan but didn’t apply for refugee status.
The most recent information surfaced as Japan gained notoriety for taking in more than 1,800 evacuees from Ukraine, one of the crisis zones.