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Congratulations of the Ambassador of Japan to Ukraine on the occasion of the Emperor’s Birthday

COVID-19 incidence has been declining in many countries recently, but the difficult and turbulent period is still ongoing. Since last year, the embassy has operated under numerous restrictions, and this year we were forced to cancel the annual reception on the occasion of the Birthday of the Emperor of Japan. Despite the current difficult circumstances, let me say a few words on the occasion of this year’s Emperor’s Birthday.

Recalling last year, the reception on the occasion of the Emperor’s Birthday, which took place on February 19, 2020, was the last major event organized by the Embassy before the start of quarantine restrictions. After their introduction for some time, the Embassy had to close down almost completely, but as a result of our efforts to date, meetings and negotiations, economic cooperation, and support for Japanese citizens in Ukraine are still ongoing. At the same time, the activities of the Group of Ambassadors of the G7 countries in support of reforms in Ukraine continued almost invariably, even in a pandemic.

Undoubtedly, Ukraine is a country with great potential and it has many opportunities both politically and economically, and the realization of its potential is of great importance for this region and for the international community. With this in mind, Ukraine is implementing a number of important reforms, but it still needs to make more efforts, and the G7 is pleased to support their efforts.

Trade relations between Japan and Ukraine have declined sharply since the Revolution of Dignity in 2014, but over the past seven years, bilateral trade has been gradually recovering and growing. This trend is due to political and economic stability, and we hope that your country will continue to grow steadily, economic relations will expand, and even more Japanese citizens will be able to visit Ukraine.

As part of official development assistance, Japan has provided Ukraine with a total of about $ 3.1 billion since its independence. Most of this assistance was aimed at implementing infrastructure projects, such as the reconstruction of Boryspil International Airport. We are also providing significant humanitarian assistance, in particular, on January 28, against the background of the spread of a new coronavirus infection, we completed the procedure of providing medical equipment (magnetic resonance imaging, MRI) to the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine. This equipment will be used not only for patients who may be infected with the new coronavirus, but also for the diagnosis and treatment of Ukrainian citizens and border guards who are on duty around the clock to prevent the spread of infection at the border. I am convinced that this will help strengthen the health care system in Ukraine as a whole.

Since 2014, Japan has also been providing humanitarian assistance to people affected in eastern Ukraine. At the end of January, it was decided to provide $ 4.5 million in international assistance through international organizations. In addition, we continue to provide grant assistance under the Kusanone human security program for medical, social and educational institutions in Ukraine.

I would also like to inform you that last year we managed to increase the number of employees of JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) in Ukraine. The local JICA office was opened in November 2017 and has since been managed by one Japanese JICA employee, but since last December the Japanese staff has grown to two. We hope that this will increase the capacity to provide technical assistance to Ukraine and deepen economic relations between Japan and Ukraine.

In the context of political cooperation, progress is being made not only in bilateral relations, but also in multilateral platforms, such as the United Nations and other international organizations. Japan strongly supports the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine and expresses its support for all relevant resolutions of the UN General Assembly and other organizations. Ukraine is also one of the countries that did not acquire nuclear weapons after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but instead decided to surrender or completely abandon them, and is cooperating in the framework of Japan’s initiative for full nuclear disarmament.

Since last year, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission, which was set up to oversee the situation in Donbass, has had no Japanese staff, but now there is an opportunity to delegate a Japanese specialist and resumed work in February.

This year is a special year for Ukraine, as it will celebrate the 30th anniversary of independence, but it will also be a year of special significance for Japan, where the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be held in Tokyo. In addition, this year will mark the 50th anniversary of the relations between the twin cities of Kyoto and Kyiv and the 35th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident, to reduce the consequences of which and to rebuild for many years, the Japanese government continued to cooperate. Next year will also mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ukraine. Although both our countries continue to remain in unforeseen circumstances in overcoming the coronavirus epidemic, we will do everything possible to deepen bilateral relations at this important stage.

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