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Japan will host Ukraine reconstruction conference to showcase support for war-torn country

TOKYO — Japan will host a reconstruction conference for Ukraine on Monday just ahead of the two-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion as Tokyo seeks to showcase its commitment to supporting the war-torn country.

In his keynote speech at the conference later Monday, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is expected to stress Japan’s commitment to supporting Ukraine, the importance of investment across industries for the future of that country’s development and ensuring that the support caters to Ukraine’s needs.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal heads his country’s delegation of more than 100 government and corporate officials, while President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is to send a video message from his homeland. About 300 people and 80 companies are to attend from the two countries, Japanese officials said.

The Japan-Ukraine Conference for Promotion of Economic Growth and Reconstruction is co-organized by the Japanese and Ukrainian governments, Japan’s powerful business organization Keidanren, and Japan External Trade Organization, or JETRO.

The two sides will issue a joint communique and dozens of memorandums of cooperation on the reconstruction are expected to be signed. Japan is considering easing travel restrictions for Japanese business trips to Ukraine.

Japan hopes the conference will build momentum for international support for Ukraine as the war drags on and attention has diverted to the Gaza situation.

The conference is largely about reconstruction and investment in Ukraine, but it’s also about Japan’s national security.

Kishida repeatedly said that “Ukraine today could be East Asia tomorrow,” and it is crucial for Japan to advocate its objection to Russia’s invasion and to the one-sided change of the status quo by force. Its support for Ukraine comes amid fear of China’s increasingly assertive military actions in the region.

“It is extremely important that we demonstrate our solidarity to Ukraine in our uniquely Japanese way,” Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa told reporters Friday.

Japan’s $12.1 billion contribution to Ukraine over the past two years is mostly financial and humanitarian as its military equipment provisions are limited to non-lethal weapons, and much smaller compared to $111 billion the United States has provided in weapons, equipment, humanitarian assistance.

Japan’s government has chosen seven target areas — including removal of mines and debris; improvement of humanitarian and living conditions; farming; biochemical manufacturing; digital and information industry; infrastructure in power and transportation sectors; and anti-corruption measures.

Japan, in cooperation with other Group of Seven members, hopes to link the Tokyo conference to a separate Ukraine reconstruction conference to be held in Germany in June.

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