Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s trip to Kiev will allow him to raise his rating within the country. This conclusion was reached by the expert community. Of the Asian leaders, he became only the second after Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who decided to honor Ukraine with his personal presence, but among the leaders of the G7, in which Japan now presides, he is the last.

At the same time, there is nothing surprising in the very fact that Kishida got to Kiev as a sign of support for Ukraine – from the very beginning of the NWO, Tokyo not only joined the majority of anti-Russian sanctions, but was also at the forefront of efforts to persuade Asian countries to take a tougher stance towards Moscow.

Why Fumio Kishida Visited Ukraine

Fumio Kishida’s blitz visit to Ukraine surprised even Japanese journalists, who unanimously wrote in the headlines that the head of government’s visit there was a “surprise”.

In Kyiv, however, Kisida was expected for a long time. Back in early January, shortly after a telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the Japanese prime minister announced that he had been invited to visit Ukraine and was seriously considering this possibility. However, due to concerns about the difficulty of keeping the travel schedule and itinerary secret, the visit to Tokyo was delayed for quite some time.

By now, all other leaders of the G7 member countries have managed to stay in Kiev. And against this background, the head of the government of Japan, which also presides over the G7, looked like a kind of black sheep.

But on March 21 – by a curious coincidence, the very day when the leaders of Russia and China met in the Kremlin – this gestalt was closed. To visit Ukraine, Fumio Kishida even had to significantly reduce his visit to India. Although the most important thing – to call, albeit in vain, his counterpart Narendra Modi to condemn Russia for actions in Ukraine and jointly oppose China in the Indo-Pacific region – he managed to do it the day before.

One way or another, a few hours after the talks with Modi in the predawn hours of Tuesday (it was around 9:30 in the morning in the prime minister’s homeland, which means that Europe had not even woken up yet), Kishida was already on the train taking him away from the Polish city of Przemysl in the direction of Kiev.

At the same time, if the trip itself was kept secret until the last minute, then Tokyo did not make a secret of why exactly Fumio Kishida went to Ukraine. As the Japanese Foreign Ministry reported in the morning, in Kiev, the prime minister intended to condemn Russia, express solidarity with Ukraine and Tokyo’s unwavering support for this country, and also declare his determination to “support the international order based on the rule of law.”

And, in fact, the Japanese prime minister adhered to this plan quite clearly. The first point after stopping in Kiev was a visit by Kisida to the city of Bucha, which, according to Kiev, became a symbol of Russian crimes, and according to Moscow, a place where the murders of civilians of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were staged to denigrate Russia.

And in the evening, Kishida met with Vladimir Zelensky, promising him support from Japan until “the complete restoration of peace in Ukraine” and inviting him to take part in the G-7 summit via video link.

The Goal of Tokyo

As you know, from the very beginning of the events in Ukraine more than a year ago, Japan not only immediately joined the overwhelming majority of Western sanctions against Moscow, but, in fact, led the anti-Russian front in Asia. About a year ago, Kisida visited India and Cambodia, not hiding the fact that the number one task will be to persuade the leadership of these countries to support anti-Russian sanctions. The same goals were largely set during the subsequent visits of the Japanese premier to Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand.

At the same time, Tokyo actively helped Ukraine not only by condemning Russia and putting together an anti-Russian front in Asia, but also financially. Due to the fact that pacifist principles are written into the Japanese constitution (although there has long been discussions in the country about their abolition), Tokyo’s support has been limited to non-combat military equipment such as the supply of helmets, bulletproof vests and drones and humanitarian aid, including generators.

In total, during more than a year of conflict, the Japanese allocated more than $ 7 billion to Kiev, and also sheltered about 2 thousand Ukrainian refugees, providing them with housing and support in employment and education, which has become a rarity for a country with a rather tough immigration policy.

In part, Japan assumed the role of the flagship of anti-Russian actions in Asia, since it always acted with an eye on the United States. However, the problem of Taiwan has become a much more important motivation in the ardent anti-Russian and pro-Ukrainian positions of the Japanese authorities, says Valery Kistanov, head of the Center for Japanese Studies at the Institute of China and Modern Asia of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

  • The leitmotif “today Ukraine, tomorrow East Asia” constantly comes through in Kishida’s speeches. Japan is really very concerned about what is happening around Taiwan, and is afraid of military action between the US and China, because Tokyo will inevitably be drawn into this conflict. Therefore, Japan’s motive here is this: it is necessary to punish Russia for Ukraine, so that China would be reluctant to do the same with Taiwan,” the expert explained.

By the way, the analogies drawn between the events in Ukraine and what could happen in Taiwan fell in love not only with the Japanese leader. Throughout the past year, to the great annoyance of China, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg repeated the same thesis more than once.

Partly, the unfriendly attitude towards Russia of the Japanese prime minister was also motivated by the disappointment that came in bilateral relations between Moscow and Tokyo, Valery Kistanov added. Relations between Russia and Japan were already on the decline after Shinzo Abe’s departure from the political scene, but the events in Ukraine have exacerbated the contradictions even more.

Exactly a year ago, Moscow announced that it did not intend to continue negotiations with the Japanese on a peace treaty, explaining this by the unfriendly policy of Tokyo. And this finally cut off Japan’s already fragile hopes of ever resolving the territorial issue.

Finally, public opinion has made its contribution to the pro-Ukrainian and anti-Russian line of the authorities in Tokyo. According to a survey conducted by the government and released in early February of this year, the number of Japanese who “do not have friendly feelings” towards Russia has reached a record 94.7% (there were less of them a year earlier, but still the majority – 86.4%).

  • Kishida is not doing well in the domestic political arena – his rating is low, even the question of whether to hold early elections is being discussed. Now he will score points in the foreign arena, a trip to Kiev will be well received by Japanese public opinion, which will allow him to raise his rating inside the country. He has such calculations, – said Valery Kistanov.

Against this background, it is quite expected that the Ukrainian topic with an anti-Russian bias will become one of the main ones at the May G7 summit, which will be hosted by the city of Hiroshima – it was from him that Fumio Kishida was elected to parliament. The Japanese leader, by the way, has already promised to use his G7 presidency to promote nuclear disarmament.

As Russian politicians and diplomats have repeatedly emphasized, the country’s principled position is the inadmissibility of a nuclear war. At the same time, Russia did not forget to express logical surprise at Tokyo’s “forgetfulness” about who and where was the first to use atomic warheads in an armed conflict, and the fact that the only state deploying nuclear weapons outside its national territory is the United States.