Kishida voices support for Ukraine’s sovereignty

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida holds a press conference after a phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressed support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, in a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday, amid concerns about Russia’s possible invasion of the country.

During the 30-minute talks, Kishida said Japan consistently supports Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and simply cannot accept any unilateral change to the status quo.

The Japanese and Ukrainian leaders agreed to persistently continue diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the situation.

They discussed the protection of Japanese nationals in Ukraine and possible economic sanctions against Russia in the event of an invasion.

Kishida offered to provide some $100 million in emergency loans to Ukraine. Zelenskyy gave detailed explanations of the situation inside Ukraine and of Russian troops, according to Kishida.

“We will respond appropriately, in cooperation with the Group of Seven partners and the international community, depending on what occurs,” Kishida told reporters after the phone talks.

“Our basic stance is to cooperate with the international community while keeping in mind our national interests,” the prime minister added.

Ahead of the call with Zelenskyy, Kishida spoke with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen over the phone and agreed to cooperate closely to ease tensions. The European Union leader thanked Japan for its plan to divert part of its liquefied natural gas imports to Europe.

According to the Japanese government, there are some 130 Japanese nationals in Ukraine now. Tokyo has opened a temporary liaison office in Lviv, a western Ukraine city, and is urging the nationals to evacuate immediately.

In a meeting between the Japanese government and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Tuesday, Kishida described the Ukrainian situation as unpredictable.