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Japan greatly increased aid to Ukraine, planned Prime Minister Kishida’s visit to Kiev, presided over the G7 meeting focusing on Ukraine

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Balloon Dialogue. (February 20, 2023)
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Balloon Dialogue. (February 20, 2023)

On the eve of the anniversary of Russia’s February 24, 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Japan pledged $5.5 billion in humanitarian aid to Ukraine. This is nearly four times higher than Japan’s previous aid pledges.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Monday that Japan is in a position to lead the world in supporting Ukraine’s efforts to counter Russian aggression in order to maintain a free and open international order based on the rule of law.

CNN reported that Tokyo had previously promised Kiev $600 million in financial aid and $700 million in humanitarian aid, including medical supplies and food. Japan has also joined Western allies in imposing tough economic sanctions against Russia for waging an unjust war.

The report said that last summer, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in a speech that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was a warning to the outside world, “Today’s Ukraine may be tomorrow’s, East Asia.”.

Fumio Kishida reiterated that point again on Monday. He said, “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is not just a matter for Europe, but also a challenge to the rules and principles of the entire international community.”

Kishida also said Japan faced the toughest security environment since World War II, citing North Korea’s expanding nuclear missile program and “unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force in the East and South China Seas”.

Kishida declined to go into specifics, but the stand-off between Tokyo and Beijing has deepened over a dispute over islands in the East China Sea that both claim.

Meanwhile, Fumio Kishida and other Japanese officials have said that peace in the Taiwan Strait region is extremely important to Japan’s security.

Late last year, Fumio Kishida announced that Japan would dramatically increase military spending and plans to acquire long-range weapons to counter threats to Japan’s security.

Kishida also announced on Monday that he will host a video summit between G7 leaders and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday. It is the first since Russia invaded Ukraine and precedes the annual G7 leaders’ summit scheduled for May in Hiroshima, Japan.

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Putin’s nuclear blackmail fuels nuclear fears

Kishida said Hiroshima was an appropriate venue for the G7 summit because the city was the site of an atomic bomb in World War II and Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine had fueled new nuclear fears.

Fumio Kishida said, “Because of Russia’s actions, the world now faces a real threat from nuclear weapons. It is important to convey the truth about the nuclear bombing to the world, which can serve as the starting point for all nuclear disarmament efforts.”

But on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent nuclear blackmail to the West in a speech about the Ukraine war, suspending a major nuclear arms control treaty, announcing the deployment of a new strategic weapons system, and saying Moscow might resume nuclear testing.

Putin said Russia was suspending the implementation of the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). Putin said without any evidence that some people in Washington are considering resuming nuclear testing. Therefore, the Russian Ministry of Defense and relevant departments should be ready for nuclear weapons testing if necessary.

The new treaty, also known as the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty III, was signed by the United States and Russia in 2010 and entered into force on February 5, 2011, for a period of 10 years. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on February 3, 2021, to extend it for five years, valid until February 5, 2026.

According to the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, Russia and the United States plan to reduce the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles to 700, the number of nuclear warheads to 1,550 within seven years, and the number of deployed and undeployed launch vehicles used to launch nuclear warheads. up to 800 pcs.

Putin also revealed that a week ago he ordered the deployment of a new land-based strategic system for actual combat. At present, it is not clear what specific strategic system Putin is referring to.

Putin also claimed that Ukraine was trying to strike an air base facility deep inside Russia that housed nuclear bombers.

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Putin was effectively warning the West that unless they backed down from the Ukraine war, he could scrap nuclear arms control mechanisms, including a pledge by the United States and Russia to a moratorium on nuclear testing, Reuters said.

The Associated Press reported that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Moscow’s decision “really unfortunate and deeply irresponsible.” Blinken said during his visit to Greece that the United States will carefully observe Russia’s actual actions.

Explore Fumio Kishida’s visit to Kyiv

Japan has provided defensive equipment to Ukraine since the war in Ukraine began, a rare move for Japan, which has a pacifist constitution. Japan has also offered asylum to Ukrainians fleeing the conflict.

Since the Russian invasion, Japan has so far provided a total of $1.5 billion in financial and other aid to Ukraine, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

While the Japanese prime minister announced increased aid to Ukraine, U.S. President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to Kiev on Monday, pledging to increase arms supplies to Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the trip, the first by a U.S. president since 2008, was an “extremely important signal of support.”

According to Kyodo News, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroichi Matsuno commented at a press conference on February 21 on U.S. President Joe Biden’s sudden visit to Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, saying, “On the occasion of Russia’s invasion of Russia for a year, we are very concerned about Joe Biden. The president’s actions in solidarity with Ukraine are saluted.”

Hiroichi Matsuno also said regarding the coordination of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s visit to Kiev, “discussions are underway in conjunction with local security measures and other situations,” and “no decision has been made yet.”

Hiroshi Kajiyama, acting director-general of the Liberal Democratic Party, also said at a press conference that Fumio Kishida’s visit to Kiev was “not an easy task” considering ensuring local security and the coordination schedule of the National Assembly.

According to reports, with President Biden’s visit to Kiev, Prime Minister Kishida became the only G7 leader who has not visited Kiev since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Fumio Kishida originally planned to visit Ukraine a year after the Russian invasion, but due to local security and the schedule of the domestic parliament, it is currently difficult to make the trip.

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The report also said that the current Japanese law stipulates that the Self-Defense Forces cannot escort Japanese leaders and senior officials overseas, and can only request protection from the visiting country. It seems difficult for Japan to judge Ukraine, where the war continues.

Japan to host G7 finance ministers meeting

Separately, Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said G7 finance ministers would meet on Thursday to discuss measures to pressure Russia to end the war in Ukraine, Reuters reported.

Japan will host the meeting of G7 finance ministers and central bank governors in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru. Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine continues despite a slew of punitive sanctions imposed by the G7 and others for its invasion of Ukraine.

Suzuki Junichi said at a press conference, “Supporting Ukraine and sanctioning Russia will be the main topics of this discussion. We will continue to coordinate closely with the G7 and the international community to improve the effectiveness of sanctions and achieve the ultimate goal of prompting Russia to withdraw its troops. “

Japan is this year’s rotating host of the G7 summit and other meetings. The G7 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

After the disintegration of the former Soviet Union, Russia has participated in some meetings of the G7 summit since 1991. In 1997, it was accepted as the eighth member state and officially became the Group of Eight (G8). However, because Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian army to invade in February 2014 and quickly annexed the Ukrainian territory Crimea, the United States and its allies kicked Russia out of the G8 on March 24, 2014, and changed it back to a group composed of industrialized democracies. G7.

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