Japan to Reaffirm Demining Support for Ukraine at International Conference

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, right, and his Croatian counterpart Gordan Grlic Radman hold a joint press conference in Tokyo in July.

The Japanese government is stepping up its efforts to assist Ukraine in removing landmines that have been laid by Russian forces in the country.

Russian forces have laid a large number of landmines in Ukraine, mainly in occupied areas.

Landmines have also caused serious damage after many were unearthed and dispersed by floodwaters after the collapse in June of the Kakhovka dam, located in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine.

To emphasize its support, the Japanese government is planning to send a high-ranking official to the International Donor Conference on Humanitarian Demining in Ukraine that will be hosted by the Croatian government in Zagreb on Oct. 11 and 12.

Attendees are expected to discuss measures to mobilize additional support and resources from the International community to assist in the removal of landmines.

Croatia is itself still struggling to clear landmines that are still present since the civil war in the 1990s.

On July 21, Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman met with Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi in Tokyo and called for Japan to take part in the conference to show its determination to assist in Ukraine’s restoration.

Other countries are looking to Japan, which has undertaken demining activities in Cambodia and other locations for many years and has a high level of technological capability and experience in the field.

In January this year, the Foreign Ministry and the Japan International Cooperation Agency, in collaboration with the Cambodian government, invited officials from Ukraine’s State Emergency Service and provided them with training on how to use mine detectors.

Additional training, in cooperation with Cambodia, took place in July in Poland, which has similar soil to Ukraine.

The Japanese government is expected to explain these efforts at the October conference to reaffirm its stance of supporting Ukraine. Japan has already provided Ukraine with four landmine detectors, and is considering providing additional detectors before the end of this year.

“It will take many years to clear all landmines in the country,” said a senior Foreign Ministry official. “We need to focus on the issue and steadily deal with the work.”