Japan May Ease Ukraine Travel Restrictions

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Prime Minister’s Office

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—Some Japanese government officials are calling on the country to ease its restrictions on travel to Ukraine as part of efforts to encourage corporate investment there, people familiar with the situation said.

Ukraine is subject to the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s strictest travel advisory due to Moscow’s invasion, which urges all Japanese nationals to evacuate immediately from the country and avoid all travel there regardless of purposes.

A senior Japanese Foreign Ministry official said Ukraine is a major agriculture country, has industrial zones and has many citizens with technology expertise. “It will be a good investment destination for Japan,” the official said.

Then Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi was accompanied by business leaders during a trip to Ukraine in September last year.

The Japanese business community is asking the government to ease the restrictions to allow travel to Ukraine for purposes related to the country’s reconstruction from the war. In South Korea, businesspeople are allowed to travel to Ukraine if they are part of economic missions authorized by Seoul.

Some Japanese government officials are cautious about easing the restrictions, however. “This is a matter of the safety of Japanese nationals,” one of the officials said.

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa only said at a parliamentary committee meeting Friday that the government will work to advance public-private efforts to promote Ukraine’s reconstruction.

The Japanese government will hold an international meeting in Tokyo on Feb. 19 to discuss ways to promote Ukraine’s reconstruction. The meeting will be attended by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Kamikawa and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal as well as about 300 business leaders from both countries.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is scheduled to send a video message to the meeting. Ambassadors from Poland and Japan’s Group of Seven partners have also been asked to attend the meeting.

Japan aims to have cooperation agreements in over 20 areas, including infrastructure restoration, the removal of debris and land mines, and training on agriculture and remote medical services, signed at the meeting.