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Japan to host reconstruction conference for Ukraine

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17 Feb 2024 05:02:24 GMT9
17 Feb 2024 05:02:24 GMT9

Arab News Japan

TOKYO: A Japan-Ukraine Conference for the Promotion of Economic Reconstruction will be held in Tokyo on February 19 with keynote speeches by Japanese Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Japan’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement explaining why it was hosting the conference. “It has been almost two years since Russia began its aggression against Ukraine. As the aggression becomes more prolonged, it is important for the international community to unite in support of Ukraine from the perspective that a unilateral change of the status quo by force will not be tolerated. We will use this conference as an opportunity to build international momentum for support for Ukraine.”

Ukraine is hoping that it will benefit from the technology and expertise of Japanese companies and Japan’s experience in postwar and post-earthquake reconstruction, including support from the public and private sectors, a Japanese official told Arab News Japan.

When asked why a conference on reconstruction is being held while the destruction caused by the war is still going on, the official replied: “It’s a very good point, but I would like to flip your question around and say we should not wait until the war is over, but rather we should start now. Yes, the country is at war, but that’s not something that should prevent us from going into the country and engaging in cooperative work with the Ukrainian side.”

“I think that it has been a consistent policy for the Japanese government that it is high time for us and also the international community as a whole not to forget that the aggression itself was a huge challenge to the foundation of international order,” said the official, who asked not to be named.

“The aggression itself is a challenge to the international order, but when we, Japanese officials and the Japanese people, talk about this, I think it has a special context, which is that what’s been happening in Ukraine is something we might want to think about in the context of what could happen in the Indo-Pacific region.”

The Japanese government says helping Ukraine is in Japan’s national interest, but while the government is lending assistance, private companies can also be involved, and the government has been working hard to facilitate this. In turn, it hopes Japanese action will be reflected by the international community, which is also holding conferences to address Ukrainian reconstruction.

“I think our position is that not only Japan, but the international community as a whole being engaged in the reconstruction and recovery process of Ukraine is actually a solution for Ukraine in its fight against Russia, and we should not wait until the war is over or peace is achieved,” the official said. 

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