Japanese Foreign Minister visits Poland-Ukraine border crossing



Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, far right, and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, left, talk in Warsaw on April 2, 2022. (Pool photo/Kyodo)

WARSAW (Kyodo) — Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi observed on Sunday a border checkpoint in Medyka, southeastern Poland, where Ukrainian refugees have arrived as Japan prepares to strengthen humanitarian aid for the Eastern European country besieged by Russian aggression.

Having arrived in Poland the day before as Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s special envoy, Hayashi also visited a refugee reception center before heading to Rzeszow, where Japan has set up a temporary liaison office.

On Saturday, he spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, assuring him of Tokyo’s “firm resolve” to help Ukraine.

During their meeting in Warsaw, the Polish capital, Hayashi said that Japan stands with the people of Ukraine and ready to provide more humanitarian aid to civilians whose lives have been disrupted by the Russian invasion, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Foreign Affairs.

Hayashi also said the international community must act “united and resolutely” against Russia, which invaded Ukraine more than a month ago, the Japanese ministry said.

Kuleba, who received as gifts drawings from Japanese children hoping for peace in Ukraine, said in response that his country appreciated Japan’s support and sanctions against Russia, the ministry said.

Hayashi plans to take evacuated Ukrainians to Japan on a government plane as he completes his five-day trip.

After the meeting with Kuleba, Hayashi visited a shelter for Ukrainian refugees in Warsaw, where he learned from them what kind of help they were looking for.

Hayashi told reporters that the Japanese government will provide “maximum support so that they can return to their original lives as soon as possible” and that Tokyo is ready to airlift those who wish to come to Japan.

The number of evacuees heading to Japan with Hayashi could be around 30, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Japan has offered to use the government plane as airfares have skyrocketed since the invasion began on February 24, making it difficult for Ukrainians currently in Poland to flee to Japan even if they wish, according to the sources.

Hayashi’s visit aims to show Japan’s commitment to global efforts to help Ukraine and Poland, which have taken in more than 2.3 million refugees from the war-torn country.

Japan accepted a total of 337 Ukrainian evacuees between March 2 and Wednesday, according to the Japan Immigration Services Agency.

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