The last two of 20 special commercial flights ordered by the government to evacuate Japanese nationals from Indonesia were canceled due to a lack of passengers, Chief Cabinet Secretary Kanezo Muraoka said Friday.
The cancellations came after one flight returned Thursday to Narita airport, Chiba Prefecture, with only one passenger, and another returned with only nine people aboard.
The canceled flights had been scheduled to fly from Jakarta to Narita airport on Thursday and Friday evening. “Most Japanese people who wanted to leave the country seem to have already done so. We now believe that regular commercial flights will be enough to handle those hoping to return to Japan,” Muraoka told a regular press conference.
As of Friday morning, some 3,710 Japanese nationals remained in Indonesia after about 14,300 returned to Japan, according to a government estimate. Koichi Oda, an employee of All Nippon Airways who returned home on a special flight Thursday, said Jakarta’s international airport was crowded with passengers until Tuesday and that by Wednesday most Japanese who wished to leave already had.
However, the government has not downgraded its danger warning for Japanese nationals still in Indonesia because there is no way to predict how the situation will develop over the next few days, Muraoka said. Last Sunday, the Foreign Ministry raised its danger warning from level three to level four on its five-tier danger scale and urged family members of Japanese workers in Indonesia to leave the country.
The government still has six C-130 Air Self-Defense Force transport planes on standby in Singapore in case of an emergency, Muraoka said. Defense Agency Chief Fumio Kyuma said the government will wait and see whether the ASDF planes should remain there. Two Maritime Safety Agency patrol vessels that had headed for waters off Jakarta will continue their voyage as planned, Muraoka said.
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