120 Japanese nationals still in Ukraine

The Associated Press
Traffic jams are seen as people leave the city of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Thursday.

About 120 Japanese nationals are still believed to be in Ukraine, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry. At the end of last year, 251 were living in the country.

Contrastingly, 1,860 Ukrainians were living in Japan as of June last year, according to government statistics on foreign residents.

Since the 2011 accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holding’s Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant, Fukushima University and other organizations have been collaborating with Ukrainian research institutes to study radioactive materials.

The Chernobyl nuclear power plant in northern Ukraine exploded in 1986 when the country was part of the now-defunct Soviet Union.

Although Japan does not have major economic ties with Ukraine, global wheat prices are likely to be affected by disruptions to exports from the country, which is known as the “breadbasket of Europe.”

According to trade statistics compiled by the Finance Ministry, Japan exported goods worth about ¥54.1 billion to Ukraine in 2020, mainly cars and motorcycles, and imported goods worth about ¥56.8 billion, mainly tobacco, iron ore and aluminum.

Art center

The capital of Ukraine has long been known as a center of the arts. The Kyiv Ballet, based at the National Opera and Ballet Theatre of Ukraine, is a renowned company with more than 150 years of history.

Many Japanese dancers have honed their skills by studying in the country or joining Ukrainian ballet companies.

Nobuhiro Terada, the national theater’s assistant artistic director of ballet, moved to Ukraine when he was 11. The 45-year-old has been based in the country, but he fled to Portugal on Monday because of the deteriorating security situation.

One of Terada’s acquaintances in Kyiv informed him that explosions had been heard in the capital on Thursday when Russia launched a wide-ranging attack. “I have many friends and colleagues in Ukraine. What’s going to happen?” he said.