Recently, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida came to Ukraine with an official visit for the first time in seven years. Kishida visited Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant and the exclusion zone. Director of European Policy Division of Japanese Foreign Ministry Keiichi HARA told journalists at a press briefing by a cup of tea that Mr. Kishida thanked the Ukrainian side for the assistance provided after the Great East Japan Earthquake. The Japanese minister also said that he is very pleased to note that cooperation between Ukraine and Japan under the signed agreement on post-disaster cooperation begins to take shape.
According to Hara, Kishida stressed that in this context, the project of monitoring the territories surrounding Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant and Fukushima-1 from space, implemented by the University of Tokyo and Ukraine’s National Space Agency, is highly symbolic. Hara explained that within the framework of this project the University of Tokyo will design eight micro satellites, which will be launched into space from launch platforms of Ukraine’s National Space Agency. As a result of the negotiations held at Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs the parties agreed to provide governmental support for this project to facilitate its successful implementation.
In his turn, the Minister Leonid Kozhara confirmed the readiness of the Ukrainian side to provide the necessary expertise and technical support to Japan in overcoming the consequences of the accident at the nuclear power plant Fukushima-1 in March 2011.
By the way, Mr. Kishida came to Kyiv from Hungary. Director of European Policy Division of Japanese Foreign Ministry explained to journalists in detail the three reasons why this visit was possible.
Firstly, its primary goal was to strengthen relations with Ukraine – a strategically important country with geopolitical location between Russia and the EU. That’s why it is very important for Japan that the privatization processes, development and strengthening of market economy would continue in Ukraine.
Secondly, arranging this visit Tokyo was guided by a desire to step up cooperation with Ukraine in the context of the accident at Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant. According to Mr. Hara, after visiting Chornobyl NPP Minister Kishida saw firsthand that 20 years after the accident Ukraine is still struggling with the effects of this disaster and works on it every day. Ukraine reacted to the accident at the Fukushima-1 plant as if the accident occurred in Ukraine, provided assistance and shared experience. This cooperation that took place after the disaster in Japan needs to be continued.
Thirdly, Japanese businessmen are very interested in Ukraine’s powerful potential. However, when Japanese companies would have to make decisions on investing in Ukraine, they will take into account such factors as stability and favorable investment conditions.
According to Mr. Hara, the third meeting of Ukrainian-Japanese Cooperation Committee at the level of Foreign Ministers took place at the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry. Fumio Kishida and his Ukrainian counterpart Leonid Kozhara discussed issues of cooperation between the two countries in the field of post-disaster response, the development of economic relations, and prospects for scientific and technical cooperation.
“What concerns economic cooperation, Kishida noted that Japan is extremely willing to further strengthen economic cooperation with Ukraine, which has the largest population in Eastern Europe and is rich in natural resources,” continued Hara. “Japanese businessmen are carefully considering Ukraine’s economic potential. The parties agreed that Japanese Association for Economic Cooperation will come to Kyiv in October to participate in the fifth meeting of the joint Japanese-Ukrainian Economic Council. We believe that this meeting will give the driving force for the further development of economic relations. The main factors that would greatly encourage Japanese businessmen to make decisions about investments in Ukraine are stable political situation and favorable business climate. For that, Kishida stressed, it is important that the Ukrainian government would promote the privatization and the transition to a market economy. Currently, Ukraine and Japan are engaged in negotiations on the Agreement on Liberalization, Promotion, and Protection of Investments, which is important for Japanese business to start making investments and be certain of that.”
“What concerns scientific and technical cooperation, by the end of this year we plan to hold the third meeting of the Council for Scientific and Technological Cooperation. In Japan, we are well aware of the high level of science and technology in Ukraine. Given the fact that Japan also has a strong science and technology industry, both countries have good prospects for cooperation in this field. Japan is willing to expand cooperation in this sphere,” said Mr. Hara.