Japan scrambles to fly out tourists

Kyodo News

The government said Monday morning it will use chartered aircraft bring home Japanese stranded in Egypt amid the growing unrest there, with the first plane slated to leave Cairo International Airport for Rome later in the day.

The Foreign Ministry’s emergency task force endorsed a plan for the planes to make three round-trips between Cairo and Rome on Monday to bring out Japanese stranded in Egypt amid massive antigovernment protests.

According to the Foreign Ministry, about 1,600 Japanese were staying in Egypt as of Monday. The government is aiming to fly them out as soon as possible by using both regular commercial flights and the chartered planes, which can each transport 180 people.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told a news conference that Japan will take additional steps to deal with those who cannot be accommodated by the chartered planes.

Edano also said the embassy sent medical officers to check on Japanese stranded at the airport.

At 10 p.m. Sunday local time, 335 Japanese tourists among about 600 stranded at Cairo International Airport flew out of the airport on an EgyptAir plane bound for Narita airport, the Japanese Embassy in Egypt said.