• Defense & Security

Japan to help Ukraine remove landmines

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Landmines and unexploded shells are prepared for disposal in a suburb of Kyiv in June.

Japan will support Ukraine in the removal of landmines planted by Russian forces, according to Japanese government sources.

The government will work with Cambodia, which has expertise in landmine removal, and also plans to give landmine detectors to Ukraine.

A large number of landmines have been laid in Ukraine, mainly in areas occupied by Russian forces.

Some experts predict it will take at least 10 years to clear all the landmines and unexploded shells, which will severely hamper the country’s reconstruction efforts after the withdrawal of Russian forces.

According to the Japanese government’s plan, Ukrainian personnel will take part in landmine-clearing training in Phnom Penh in January at the earliest, and around April, Japan and Cambodia will send a team of experts to Poland to continue the training.

Japan aims to donate the detectors by spring.

The government allocated about ¥60 billion, including money for Ukrainian support, in the second supplementary budget for fiscal 2022.

Japan is likely to use the official development assistance framework to provide the support

Many landmines were laid in Cambodia during the country’s civil war. Assistance from Japan and other countries helped Cambodia clear the landmines and develop related technologies.

At a meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in Phnom Penh in March, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he wanted to share such technologies with other countries.

Japan has provided Ukraine with non-lethal military equipment, such as bulletproof vests and helmets, as well as power generators and solar-powered lights to support Ukrainians over winter. Japan has also provided financial assistance worth about $1 billion through international organizations.