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Ukraine Aid: Japan's Message of Strong Support for the Long-Term Recovery 

Beginning February 15, Japan is coordinating several events focusing on public and private initiatives for the long-term support and reconstruction of Ukraine.



Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hold a joint press conference on March 22, 2023 (@Cabinet Public Relations Office)

The tragic conflict arising from Russia's aggression in Ukraine is entering its third year. Many foreign countries are struggling to define how best to commit aid to Ukraine while addressing politics at home. In this context, Japan stands out in its strong message of support for Ukraine's long-term recovery. 

Foreign Minister KAMIKAWA Yoko expressed Japan's unwavering resolve to "keep supporting Ukraine so that peace can be restored" as she arrived in Kyiv on January 7. It was her first surprise visit since taking office in September 2023. She promised five mobile gas turbine power generators with the potential to help 5 million people in the country facing harsh winter temperatures. KAMIKAWA also pledged further nonlethal aid, including the provision of an unmanned aircraft detecting system. 

Japan has announced and steadily provided over $7.6 billion USD in support to Ukraine. At the G7 Leaders' Video Conference last December, Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio stated that Japan decided to provide additional assistance of approximately $1 billion USD. That includes humanitarian, recovery, and reconstruction assistance. He further expressed that the government was preparing to provide credit enhancement to the World Bank loan. Together with this additional assistance, Japan's total support would comprise a total of $4.5 billion USD. 

Listening to the voices of the most vulnerable is one of the Foreign Minister's priorities as Japan tries to make sure no one is left behind. Funding is expected to go toward the welfare of women and children, including expanding education, health and medical care, shelter, and the protection of victims of gender-based violence.

Because of the war in Ukraine, Japan is also addressing global food security affecting countries everywhere, especially the Global South. This aid directs $200 million USD to emergency food assistance. 

KAMIKAWA Yoko meets Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy before their meeting on January 7, 2024 (© Ukrainian Presidential Press Service).

A Multifaceted Humanitarian Commitment

More than ever, the continuing conflict highlights the need for an organized approach to Ukraine's long-term recovery. Taking the initiative, Japan is supporting Ukraine by using its post-disaster reconstruction experience and organizing events in Tokyo to broaden the conversation. 

The Japanese government has advocated a hybrid approach to reconstruction, which includes domestic and international, private and public sector participation. 


On February 19, the government is hosting an event with the Japan Business Federation. Called Japan-Ukraine Conference for Promotion of Economic Growth and Reconstruction, many companies with post-disaster experience are expected to attend. 

From February 15 to 17, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is applying its experience in international assistance by hosting "Connecting with Ukraine: Co-creation of Strong Partnerships of Ukraine and Japan." There is a similar initiative at the United Nations University on February 20. Hosted by the Japan External Trade Organization, it focuses on the role of the private sector in Ukrainian reconstruction. 

A destroyed apartment buildings in Borodianka near Kyiv, Ukraine. February 10, 2023 (© Sankei by Ryosuke Kawaguchi)

Private Sector Partners Taking a Leading Role 

Many Japanese firms and startups are already contributing on the ground in Ukraine, and their number is expected to increase. 

Who are they? Tsubame BHB, a Yokohama-based firm that works on ammonia synthesis, is one. It aims to establish alternative fuel production in Bucha, the region where Russian forces massacred Ukrainian civilians in the early weeks of the invasion. In a press release shortly after the announcement in May, the company said that it would take on the challenge in Ukraine. Its goal is one of "resolving issues for mankind related to environmental and food problems to achieve a sustainable society."

Another initiative is led by the startup Instalimb. It aims to help those injured in the war. Instalimb has developed technology using 3D-CAD design and 3D-printer manufacturing, allowing it to match a patient's leg and make a new prosthetic limb in just one day.

"We shouldn't underestimate the importance that the private sector plays in this war," explained TSURUOKA Michito, associate professor at Keio University's Faculty of Policy Studies. He highlighted the importance of the private sector in reconstruction going forward.

"A war cannot be fought without weapons, but also not if the economy and government finances collapse. Encouraging the private sector to invest in the country and putting up a public-private partnership has great significance. Ukraine also has high hopes for this," he continued.

(Top) At a Cambodian training site, Professor Emeritus  SATO Motoyuki explains how to operate the hand-held ALIS device. (Bottom left) The shape of the detected underground object can be confirmed on the terminal screen. (Bottom right) Cambodian personnel also serve as instructors during the program. (© JICA)

Lessons Learned in Landmine Action 

From the public sector, Japanese agencies are also assisting Ukraine in its recovery.


Using lessons learned in landmine action in Cambodia, Japan is providing the latest technology to make war-torn areas inhabitable again. Key to this is the Advanced Landmine Imaging System (ALIS), developed by SATO Motoyuki, Professor Emeritus of Japan's Tohoku University. This technology is being provided through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to countries in need.

A handheld device, this technology maps landmines underground on a screen. Compared to other options, ALIS gives quick and accurate results, speeding up the process of making an area inhabitable again.

Previously, the device was used in Cambodia to detect landmines and unexploded bombs. In an example of three-way cooperation between countries, JICA had Cambodian personnel lead demonstrations showing Ukrainians how to operate ALIS.

Approximately one-fourth of Ukraine's land area is estimated to be contaminated with landmines. They put the lives of millions of people at risk, according to Ukrainian authorities. Therefore, countermeasures such as mine detection and deactivation are crucial for Ukraine's long-term rebuilding.

A Watershed Moment 

In an email interview with JAPAN Forward, Tsuruoka highlighted Japan's key role in helping Ukraine.

"Japan cannot ensure its security and prosperity in a world where countries profit from aggressions to neighboring countries," he said. "Support for Ukraine means supporting the people on the ground, but it also means 'don't let Russia win.'"

HOSOYA Yuichi, a professor of international politics at Keio University, clarified his perspective in an article published in The Sankei Shimbun.

"The world is now at a historical turning point. In contrast to authoritarian Russia, which aims for an imperialistic international order, Ukraine is trying to defend liberal democracy and an international order based on rules that are rooted in its values," he wrote.


"Liberal democracy, which was perceived as having won the ideological confrontation with communism at the end of the Cold War, is facing its greatest crisis, and its fate is tied to Ukraine," he warned.

This article is published in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.


Author: JAPAN Forward

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