Japan considers evacuating nationals in Ukraine amid military tensions

Japan is considering evacuating its nationals in Ukraine amid fears of an imminent Russian invasion, Japanese government sources said Monday, following such an order by the United States to family members of its embassy staff.

The government on Monday raised its travel alert to its second-highest Level 3 for Ukraine, urging its nationals to avoid any trips to the country.

The alert covers all of Ukraine. Previously, Crimea and two eastern regions bordering Russia were on Level 3, while the rest of Ukraine was on Level 1, which calls for precaution.

About 250 Japanese citizens, including family of embassy staff, live in Ukraine, according to the Foreign Ministry.

“We’d like (Japanese expatriates) to leave the country while commercial flights are still available,” a ministry official said.

Japan is also “moving in that direction,” a senior ministry official said in reference to the U.S. order issued Sunday, while underscoring that “the situation is changing rapidly” in the Eastern European country.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said the government has reminded Japanese residents in Ukraine to prepare for unforeseen circumstances.

“We will continue to closely monitor the changes in the situation and take necessary measures promptly while working closely with the United States and other related countries,” the top government spokesman said at a news conference.

Tensions have been rising over a military buildup by Russia with estimated 100,000 soldiers along its border with Ukraine, with no progress seen in talks between Western nations and Moscow on European security issues.

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