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Japan Shutters Yemen Embassy

  • VOA News

Japan has joined a list of nations that have temporarily closed embassies in Yemen, as security concerns mount in the aftermath of a government takeover by an Iran-backed Shiite militant group.

An online report from Japan's public broadcaster NHK quoted officials Tuesday as saying five staffers, including the ambassador, were evacuated Sunday as the facility in the Yemeni capital, Sana'a, was closed. The report said some diplomats could continue working from Japan's embassy in the Gulf state of Qatar.

Separately, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said the Seoul government is reducing its diplomatic staff in Sana'a because of security concerns.

Japan is the first Asian country to close its diplomatic facilities in Yemen since violence erupted in Sana'a last month.

Nine other countries, including the United States, key European governments, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have also pulled embassy staff since Houthi rebels seized control of the capital and placed U.S.-backed President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in detention.

The United Nations Security Council, in a resolution adopted Sunday, demanded that Houthi leaders restore the Hadi government and release the president from house arrest.

The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a bloc of energy-rich Gulf states, has threatened to take action on its own if the Hadi government is not restored.

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