Japan will provide food and medicine to Ukraine, Kishida tells Zelensky

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Japan will provide food and medicine to war-torn Ukraine as additional relief supplies, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Tuesday after speaking with Ukraine’s president by phone. Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Kishida told reporters after their roughly 40-minute conversation that Japan would step up diplomatic efforts to support Ukraine in cooperation with the Group of Seven nations, which are leading efforts to punish Russia for its invasion.

Japan has strongly condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine as shaking the foundations of the international order, imposing a series of sanctions against Moscow to the detriment of bilateral relations amid a long-unresolved territorial dispute.

According to the Foreign Ministry, Kishida told Zelenskyy that Japan would deliver the requested items, including food and medicine, as soon as possible.

About 15 tonnes of foodstuffs, including bread and canned fish, are expected to be delivered to Ukraine, a Japanese government official said.

Within the limits of the pacifist constitution, Japan has so far sent or decided to supply body armor, helmets, protective masks and commercial drones since the Russian war in neighboring Ukraine began in late February.

“President Zelensky explained his views on future assistance and sanctions (against Russia),” Kishida told reporters. “Japan will work closely with the G-7 and other nations to uphold…peace and order.”

Kishida and Zelenskyy previously spoke by phone in early March.

Kishida has repeatedly said that any unilateral use of force to change the status quo should never be tolerated. The crisis in Ukraine has raised alarm about its implications beyond Europe and for the Indo-Pacific where China’s assertive measures are raising regional concerns.

In a rare move for a country known for its strict immigration and refugee policies, Japan has taken in hundreds of people fleeing Ukraine, giving them the chance to stay longer and work in the country.

The government will help evacuees with various aspects of their lives, including finding jobs and going to school, as part of longer-term support for them, Kishida said.

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