Lending a hand to Ukraine


PRIME Minister Fumio Kishida has pledged his country’s long-term commitment to Ukraine’s reconstruction, calling it a future investment, while stressing support for the war-torn country about to mark the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion.

In his keynote speech at The Japan-Ukraine Conference for Promotion of Economic Growth and Reconstruction on Monday, Kishida said Japanese public and private cooperation will be a long-term partnership based on inclusivity, humanitarianism as well as technology and knowledge.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, who led his country’s delegation of more than 100 people, thanked Kishida and said that “today is the new start of cooperation between the two countries”.The conference was organised by the Japanese and Ukrainian governments as well as business organisations and Japan External Trade Organisation.

About 300 people and 130 companies from the two sides were in attendance, according to Japanese officials.

Kishida stressed the importance of investment across industries for the future of Ukraine’s development in a way that caters to its needs. Japanese and Ukrainian government agencies and companies signed more than 50 deals, vowing cooperation.

Kishida also announced the opening of a new government trade office in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.

Moreover, Japan has pledged ¥15.8bil (RM504mil) in new aid for Ukraine to fund de-mining and other urgently needed reconstruction projects in the energy and transportation sectors, the Foreign Ministry said.

Support for Ukraine’s reconstruction is about “investing in the future,” Kishida said.

“The war in Ukraine is still going on at this very moment and the situation is not easy. The promotion of economic reconstruction, however, is not only an investment for the future of Ukraine” but also an investment for Japan and the world, he said.Japan’s focus on reconstruction, in part due to its legal restraints on providing lethal weapons, contrasts with many Western countries, whose largely military support faces increasing scrutiny over costs.

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

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