Japan hosts Ukraine reconstruction conference as invasion anniversary looms

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has committed his government to help rebuild Ukraine when the Russian invasion ends, with the world leader making a public vow in his keynote speech on Monday.

The Japan-Ukraine Conference for Promotion of Economic Growth and Reconstruction, set this week to mark the anniversary of the Russian invasion, aims to achieve economic stability for the war-torn country.

During his keynote speech, Mr Kishida said assistance across public and private sectors in various industries is needed to achieve Ukraine’s goal.

“The war in Ukraine is still going on at this very moment, and the situation is not easy,” he said.

“The promotion of economic reconstruction, however, is not only an investment for the future of Ukraine but also investing in Japan and the whole globe.”

More than 50 Japanese and Ukrainian companies and government agencies signed the bilateral co-operation deal.

Mr Kishida added that he hopes the conference will rally the world behind Ukraine again after public attention was diverted to the suffering in Gaza.

Ukrainian prime minister Denys Shmyhal, who attended the Tokyo conference as the head of his nation’s delegation, praised the new deals as the “start of co-operation between the two countries”.

“Ukraine is not just rebuilding; we are generating new rules of the game and new approaches,” he said.

He added that “dictators and potential invaders” around the world have been watching to see how the world will react to Russian invaders violating international law.

The two nations added that sanctions must continue against Russia.

Mr Kishida repeatedly said that “Ukraine today could be East Asia tomorrow”, adding Japan must advocate its opposition to Russia’s invasion and a one-sided change of the status quo by force.

“It is extremely important that we demonstrate our solidarity to Ukraine in our uniquely Japanese way,” foreign minister Yoko Kamikawa told reporters on Friday.

Japan’s financial contribution to Ukraine over the past two years now sits at 12.1 billion dollars (£9.5 billion), made up of primarily financial and humanitarian aid, as its military equipment provisions are limited to non-lethal weapons.

In co-operation with other Group of Seven members, Japan hopes to link the Tokyo conference to a separate Ukraine reconstruction conference in Germany in June.

Later on Monday, Mr Kishida and Mr Shmyhal held talks. In a joint news conference, Japan’s premier renewed his promise to stand by Ukraine until it attained peace.

Mr Kishida also announced both sides would discuss an intelligence agreement, as Japan seeks to reinforce its national security by stepping up defence ties with Ukraine.

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