To demonstrate Japan’s ongoing support for Ukraine, Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio visited the war-torn country in March. As the G7 presidency this year, Japan will lead the way in creating a united front to restore international peace and order and will continue to provide a wide range of assistance, taking advantage of its experience and expertise.
On March 21, Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio visited Kyiv, Ukraine, to hold a summit with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. President Zelenskyy said at a joint press conference, “I am delighted that the visit took place when Japan holds the G7 presidency and is a member of the UN Security Council.” ROMAN PILIPEY/GETTY IMAGES
“I very much hoped to visit Ukraine before the G7 Hiroshima Summit to speak in person with President Zelenskyy and directly convey Japan’s solidarity and unwavering support for Ukraine,” said Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio at a joint press conference held immediately after a summit during his visit to Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 21. At the invitation of Prime Minister Kishida, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made clear his intention to participate online in the G7 Hiroshima Summit in May.
At the press conference, Prime Minister Kishida said, “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is an outrageous act that shakes the very foundations of the international order. As the G7 presidency, Japan has renewed its determination to exercise leadership to fully defend the international order based on the rule of law.” He also stated that the G7 leaders “will be prepared to issue a united message” at the Summit in May.
Since Russia’s full-scale aggression began, Japan has supported Ukraine in numerous ways. While there are restrictions on the supply of equipment with the capacity to kill or wound as stipulated by its “Three Principles on Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology,” Japan has been providing Ukraine with bulletproof vests, helmets, drones, and so on. Japan has also supplied equipment, including generators to overcome the power shortages and broadcasting equipment to enhance democracy in Ukraine. Additionally, Japan is providing Ukraine with mine detection equipment and technical training, thereby applying its experience in mine actions and reconstruction cooperation in conflict-affected areas. In February, Japan announced roughly 5.5 billion U.S. dollars of financial support to Ukraine; including some 900 million dollars in humanitarian assistance and assistance for recovery and reconstruction, Japan’s Ukraine-related assistance totaled 7.1 billion dollars. During his recent visit to the country, Prime Minister Kishida announced an additional 470 million dollars in bilateral grant aid in a holistic assistance package which includes support to the energy sector and 30 million dollars for non-lethal defense equipment assistance through NATO trust fund.
Ukraine continues to experience massive power shortages due to Russian attacks on its power plants. The Government of Japan has provided generators to the country through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to help Ukrainians in the bitter cold, and has provided transformer equipment to restore power lines. JICA
Cambodian personnel demonstrate how to use Japan’s latest mine detectors during a training session for mine-clearing experts from the Ukrainian government in anticipation of the country’s recovery and reconstruction. Japan has cooperated with Cambodia in eradicating landmines for more than 20 years since the end of that country’s civil war. JICA
The Russia’s aggression has also caused tremendous damage to agriculture in Ukraine, normally one of the world’s largest grain-producing regions, leading to an international food crisis. In response, Japan procured Ukrainian sunflower and corn seeds to distribute them to the country’s smallholder farmers, prioritizing women and youths. Recovering the country’s production capacity in agriculture—a key Ukrainian industry—will help improve the global food supply.
Meanwhile, local governments and private organizations throughout Japan have accepted over 2,300 evacuees from Ukraine thus far. With displacement becoming protracted, the Government of Japan decided in February to grant a one-year extension of living-expense support to those Ukrainian evacuees who have no relatives to rely upon in the country. Also, Prime Minister Kishida, during a stop in Poland after his visit to Ukraine, announced that Japan would provide ODA directly to Poland, which has become a frontline base for humanitarian aid to Ukraine, as a way to support the increasing burden and vulnerability of its neighboring countries.
“I deeply appreciate Japanese government’s humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. My sister also evacuated to Hiroshima a year ago and I feel the warm welcome and support of the city and the local people,” said Khot’na Anastasiya (right), a Ukrainian residing in Hiroshima.
Khot’na Anastasiya, a Ukrainian woman who came to Japan in 2002 and now lives in Hiroshima, is heartbroken by the devastation in her home country. Her parents and younger brother still live there. “More than anything, I want for peace. In Hiroshima, peace education is taking root and children have a chance to listen to atomic bomb survivors, for example, which I think is wonderful.”
The situation of the fight to restore justice remains unpredictable. During Prime Minister Kishida’s visit, Japan and Ukraine upgraded their bilateral relationship to a “special global partnership.” As Prime Minister Kishida stated in Kyiv, Japan will continue supporting and working with Ukraine in a way that is uniquely Japanese until peace returns to that beautiful land.