In response to the Russia-Ukraine crisis, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishhida pledged that his country is ready to take in Ukrainian refugees as an act of unity with Ukraine.
According to Reuters, the United Nations has reported that an estimated 700,000 people have already fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion started and have been seeking refuge in nearby countries such as Poland, which currently holds around half of Ukraine’s displaced.
During a phone call with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Wednesday, Kishida promised to work together with Poland and Ukraine to help refugees seeking asylum and asked that Poland help Japan by assisting Japanese citizens who are fleeing from Ukraine to Poland.
Kishida told reporters that he wants “to demonstrate solidarity with the Ukrainian people” and that his country will “proceed to accept those who are seeking refuge in a third country,” reported Reuters. “To strongly back Ukraine, we will strengthen coordination with the G7 (Group of Seven main industrialised countries) and the international community.”
The official Twitter page of Prime Minister’s Office of Japan also posted that Kishida had spoken with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeir and would be working together “as the world faces immense challenges, including Russian aggression towards #Ukraine”.
Recently, 70 Japanese men responded to a now-deleted Twitter post by the Ukrainian Embassy requesting volunteers to assist in fighting Russian invaders, according to Kyodo News. An embassy official stated on Wednesday that the men, who were former members of the Japan’s Self-Defense Forces, volunteered to fight against the Russian invaders. Some of the volunteers expressed that they were “not being able to forgive attacks on Ukraine by Russian forces,” while some said they wanted “to stop war as a Japanese”.
It is speculated that the original Twitter post was deleted due to Japanese laws that prevent waging war privately on foreign soil. The Ukrainian embassy later uploaded another Twitter post requesting volunteers to assist in other areas of aid such as medicine distribution and disaster prevention.
Japan’s recent declaration of unity with Ukraine comes in light of a recent Twitter feud that occurred between Japan and Russia in which a Japanese Foreign Ministry official argued with a Russian embassy official over WWII.
According to Stars and Stripes, Hideki Uyama, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan official, posted a tweet on Monday that compared the Russian invasion to Russia’s previous occupation of four Japanese islands located north of Hokkaido, Japan.
In a response on the same day, an official of the Russian embassy in Tokyo implied that Uyama was not correctly remembering historical facts and stated that the occupation of the four islands was punishment for Japan’s role in World War II.
“Japan has come to support the Nazi government twice in less than 100 years,” the embassy tweeted. “They once supported the Hitler administration, and this time the Ukrainian administration.”
Featured Image via Nippon TV News 24 Japan