NARITA, Chiba -- A Ukrainian woman living in Tokyo was reunited with her mother at Narita International Airport east of the Japanese capital earlier this month as a direct flight from Poland carrying evacuees from war-torn Ukraine arrived.
The Japanese government has secured seats on such flights, shuttling Ukrainian evacuees to the airport in Chiba Prefecture every Saturday.
Elena Yoshino, 47, a resident of Tokyo, was seen waiting for her mother to appear at the arrival lobby shortly before noon on May 7. She was among a number of Ukrainians living in Japan awaiting their family members' arrivals at the airport via flights from Warsaw.
"Why has she not appeared yet?" Elena said, appearing tired of waiting for her mother, Valentyna Bobokalo, 66, in the arrival lobby. Two hours had passed since a sign had indicated the flight had landed.
Valentyna fled from Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, on May 1, following Russia's invasion of her country. She decided to evacuate as she was able to obtain a ticket for a seat on a train heading to Warsaw, even though trains bound for the Polish capital were normally crowded.
According to Elena, her mother was living by herself after her husband passed away. "It's also tough for her mentally," she told the Mainichi Shimbun.
About three hours after the flight's landing, Elena finally spotted her mother, dashed to her and hugged her.
"I was relieved. I'm happy beyond description," Elena said. "My mom will probably stay in Japan for quite a while. It's the first time for her to be away from her home this long. I want her to get accustomed to life here as soon as possible."
(Japanese original by Daisuke Wada, Photo Group)