Yomiuri’s Ozeki Wins Prize for Zelenskyy Interview; Exclusive Talk Aboard Ukrainian Presidential Train

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Koya Ozeki

Koya Ozeki, chief of The Yomiuri Shimbun’s General Bureau of Europe, has been named one of two winners of the 2023 Vaughn-Uyeda Memorial International Journalistic Prize, the Japan Press Research Institute said Wednesday.

Ozeki, 51, was the first Japanese newspaper or news agency reporter to conduct an exclusive interview with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. His series of reports related to Ukraine, facing Russia’s aggression, was highly acclaimed.

The interview article, which appeared in The Yomiuri Shimbun on March 25 last year, drew much attention. It was newsworthy in that it was the first to report the president complaining of ammunition shortages on the Eastern war front. The interview was also dramatic as it took place aboard the running presidential train immediately after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s surprise visit to Ukraine.

Ozeki was also commended for his exclusive interviews last year with the leaders of Finland, which joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and Estonia, one of the countries that had been part of the former Soviet Union.

Ryosuke Endo, 50, editorial writer and deputy manager of the international news section for the Sankei Shimbun, was selected as the other winner of the prize. His series of reports on the ground in Ukraine and interviews with high-ranking officials of the countries related to Ukraine were highly acclaimed.