Conversation with Zelenskyj: Japan’s Prime Minister Kishida visits Kiev

Status: 03/21/2023 2:31 p.m

Japan’s Prime Minister Kishida has traveled to Ukraine. In Kiev he wants to assure President Zelenskyj support against Russia. Kishida is the only head of government of the G-7 countries who has not yet visited Ukraine.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has made a surprise visit to Ukraine. Kishida has arrived in the capital Kiev for talks with Volodymyr Zelenskyj, the Japanese news agency Kyodo reported.

Images from Japanese television station NHK showed Kishida exiting a train platform in Kiev, apparently accompanied by Ukrainian government officials. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo had recently confirmed the travel plans. Kishida’s trip, coming from a state visit to India, was initially kept secret.

Kishida wants to express solidarity

Japan’s Foreign Ministry said Kishida will pay tribute to the courage and patience of the Ukrainian people, led by Zelenskyi, who are rising up to defend their homeland. He will also express solidarity with Ukraine and unwavering support for the country as leader of the G-7 countries and as head of the Japanese government.

In the talks, he will show his absolute rejection of Russia’s unilateral change in the status quo through invasion and violence, and underline his determination to stand up for the rules-based international order, the ministry said.

Maneuvers off the coast of Japan

Kishida is the only head of government of the G-7 countries who has not yet visited Ukraine. In his homeland he was under pressure to finally go to Kiev. Kishida is the first post-war Japanese leader to enter a war zone.

Japan has joined the US and European nations in sanctioning Russia for its invasion. The country also provides humanitarian and economic assistance to Ukraine. However, the pacifist constitution does not allow Japan to supply arms.

The country reacted quickly after the invasion, fearing the potential impact of a war in East Asia. The government is at odds with both China and Russia over territory and is concerned about the close ties between Beijing and Moscow, which have been conducting joint maneuvers near Japan’s coast.

Before arriving in Kyiv, Kishida had met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. A week ago he also visited South Korea. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo, Kishida is expected in Poland on Wednesday. In addition to bilateral relations, Poland will also be concerned with the joint response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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