Kishida’s Visit Backed by Expectations of International Community

As the chair of the Group of Seven advanced nations, it is significant for Japan to directly convey to Ukraine its solidarity and unwavering support. Japan should make every possible effort to stop Russia’s outrageous acts.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. He then traveled from India to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a surprise visit. The trip was kept secret for security reasons.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began in February last year, leaders of Western countries and others have visited Ukraine one after another. Kishida had also wanted to visit there before the G7 summit in Hiroshima City in May. It was his first in-person meeting with Zelenskyy.

As the only Asian member of the G7, Japan has a responsibility to unite Western and Asian nations and play a leading role in strengthening sanctions against Russia in such areas as trade and finance, as well as in supporting Ukraine. Kyiv may also expect Tokyo to play such a role.

The Japanese government needs to actively promote humanitarian assistance and financial cooperation. It is hoped that Tokyo will consider accepting more displaced persons from Ukraine, too.

The Ukraine situation has been changing more rapidly. Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Russia for the first time since the invasion and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

If China intends to seek a solution to the crisis in Ukraine, it is reasonable that it first ask Moscow to withdraw its troops from Ukraine immediately. If it deepens cooperation with Russia, it will not be able to win the understanding of the international community.

Meanwhile, at the Japan-India summit, Kishida and Modi agreed to strengthen support for developing and emerging countries in the so-called “Global South.” Food and energy shortages in emerging countries are reportedly serious.

It is important for Japan and India, the chair of the Group of 20 major economies, to take concerted action together to resolve global issues. If Japan, the United States, Europe and the Global South communicate and cooperate, sanctions against Russia will be more effective.

India has a long history of procuring energy and weapons from Russia. It abstained from voting on a resolution condemning Russia at the U.N. General Assembly meeting, and many believe that India has become a “loophole” in the sanctions.

At the meeting with Modi, Kishida reportedly advocated the importance of “adherence to international order based on the rule of law.” It is essential for Japan, which has amicable relations with India, to persistently urge India not to disturb the unity of the international community.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 22, 2023)