Japan Plans Extensive Support to Help Clear World’s Landmine Problem; to Work Closely with Cambodia, Eyes Aid for Ukraine

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
A Ukraine official tests a mine-clearing machine in Hokuto, Yamanashi Prefecture, in January last year.

The government plans to work in cooperation with Cambodia to provide comprehensive support for Ukraine and other countries that are suffering from the destructive effects of landmines, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

The project will make use of knowledge of landmine countermeasures that Cambodia has accumulated through the years with assistance from Japan. Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa plans to make an official announcement on Saturday during her visit to Cambodia.

The planned aid package comprises three main parts: education to reduce risks from landmines, landmine removal, and support for victims.

In addition, training on the use of mine detectors will be provided in Cambodia, and a nonprofit organization will carry out activities to raise awareness among women and children who are vulnerable to landmines. A system using artificial intelligence to predict where landmines are buried will also be developed.

The government also plans to use official development assistance (ODA) to promote collaboration with international organizations and nonprofit organizations as well as Japanese companies that have mine removal technology and other skills.

Since 1998, Japan has provided grants totaling more than ¥16.7 billion to Cambodia to help clear landmines left behind during the Southeast Asian country’s civil war.

Cambodia has become one of the leading countries in the world in dealing with landmines in terms of experience and technology. During her visit there, Kamikawa aims to strengthen cooperation between the two countries on measures to be taken.

Kamikawa will also announce Japan’s intention to soon provide large mine-clearing machines to Ukraine, where landmines planted by Russia as part of its aggression have become a serious problem. It will mark the first time for Japan to offer such equipment to Ukraine.

Next year, Japan will preside over a meeting of the signatory countries of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty, known as the Ottawa Convention, and host an international conference on mine countermeasures in Ukraine.

Through the planned support program, Japan hopes to stress its contribution on the matter to the international community.