War in Ukraine: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kiev

Sylvie Claire / March 22, 2023


Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is on his way to Kiev for a surprise visit and a meeting on Tuesday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the Japanese Foreign Ministry announced.
Kishida will "convey to President Zelensky his respect for the courage and perseverance of the Ukrainian people in defending their homeland under his command, as well as the unfailing solidarity and support for Ukraine from Japan and the G7," which the Asian country is hosting this year, the ministry said in a statement.
Fumio Kishida was the only member leader of the group who had not yet been to Kiev since the Russian invasion in February 2022. He was regularly called upon to visit Ukraine. In February, U.S. President Joe Biden also made a surprise visit to Kiev. 
Japanese television NHK said its reporters in Poland filmed a car carrying the prime minister to the town of Przemysl, from where foreign officials often took a train to Ukraine.
"The convoy entered the Przemysl station and parked in front of a platform used by international trains heading to Ukraine. Prime Minister Kishida got out of the first car of the convoy and got into the last car of the train," she added.
According to the channel, the train left at 01:30.
Mr. Kishida had repeated that the trip was "under consideration", with government sources mentioning security concerns and logistical challenges to the Japanese media.
He became the first Japanese Prime Minister to visit a war zone since the end of World War II.
His visit comes at a time when Chinese President Xi Jinping is in Moscow for a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and, at the center of discussions, the conflict in Ukraine. 
Tokyo joined the Western sanctions against Russia and offered assistance to Kiev.
In February, Japan announced a further $5.5 billion in aid to Ukraine.
Tokyo also sent defensive equipment and offered to host those fleeing the conflict.
Japan did not provide military aid, however, as its pacifist constitution required it to limit its military capabilities to defensive measures.
      HTML Image as link