Ukraine Hopes to Attract Japanese Automakers

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Ukrainian Ambassador Sergiy Korsunsky speaks during an interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun on Jan. 30 in Tokyo.

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—Ukraine hopes Japanese automakers will make investments in the country, which can be considered a good place to build electric vehicles, Ukrainian Ambassador to Japan Sergiy Korsunsky has said.

Ukraine has “a vast experience in production of all kinds of equipment—heavy machinery, airplanes, even rockets,” Korsunsky said in a recent interview.

In addition, the country is geographically close to major vehicle markets in Europe and rich in minerals essential for EV batteries, such as lithium and cobalt, he said.

“We will talk to Japanese companies” to seek investments in Ukraine, Korsunsky said. He had in mind Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co., both of which withdrew from Russia after the country’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022.

On Monday, the Japan-Ukraine Conference for Promotion of Economic Growth and Reconstruction will be held in Tokyo. Companies and public organizations of the two countries are expected to sign memorandums of understanding in many areas of cooperation.

Korsunsky said that Japanese knowledge and technologies related to postdisaster reconstruction will be useful in land mine and debris disposal, road restoration and temporary housing construction in Ukraine, where repairing infrastructure damaged by Russian military attacks is an urgent task to revive the economy.

The Tokyo conference will also discuss the development of agriculture, a key industry of Ukraine.

Korsunsky said that if Japanese agricultural equipment makers contribute to improving productivity and Japanese trading houses make investments in the agricultural sector, Ukrainian agricultural products will be sold not only in the world market but also in Japan.

Regarding Ukraine’s war with Russia, he emphasized his country’s position that Russia’s withdrawal from all Ukrainian territories, including the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow unilaterally claimed to have annexed in 2014, is a prerequisite for agreeing to negotiate a ceasefire.

The ambassador again reiterated the importance of continued assistance to Ukraine, warning that countries should be “well aware about the possibility of bigger war or even global war” that may start if the conflict in Ukraine escalates further.