Address by State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Uto Takashi at the 4th Ukraine Reform Conference (July 8, 2021)

Distinguished Participants,

This is UTO Takashi, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan.

Today, I would like to deliver a statement on behalf of the Government of Japan for the “Ukraine Reform Conference”.

I would also like to express my sincere respect for the Lithuanian Government and all colleagues who have contributed to realizing this conference amid the spread of COVID-19.

The Government of Japan, together with like-minded countries, such as G7 and EU member states, has consistently supported the reform of Ukraine, which celebrates its 30th anniversary of independence this year.

When Foreign Minister MOTEGI visited Vilnius last weekend, he confirmed with Foreign Minister LANDSBERGIS that we will continue to support Ukraine’s reform efforts together.

We value the fact that Ukraine has been striving for a peaceful solution, while facing difficulties since the “annexation” of Crimea by Russia and the deterioration of the situation in eastern Ukraine in 2014.

Japan has consistently supported Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and reiterates its opposition to unilateral attempts to change the status quo, whether these occur in Europe or Asia.

The issues Ukraine faces are challenges to the international order based on the rule of law.

These issues are not only a problem for Europe, but for the entire global community, including Asia.

In March this year, I exchanged views with Minister TARAN, who was visiting Japan for the first time as the Minister of Defence of Ukraine.

At the time, I told Minister TARAN that we would like to continue to promote cooperation with Ukraine, as a partner who shares basic values such as freedom, democracy, and the rule of law.

Japan has contributed a total of $1.87 billion to Ukraine since 2014 and has continued to provide infrastructure, medical, humanitarian, and reconstruction assistance to eastern Ukraine.

We have also been making personnel contributions by dispatching experts to the Ukrainian Government and OSCE Special Monitoring Mission for stabilization of the situation.

There remain challenges for Ukraine’s reform in fields such as anti-corruption measures, judicial systems, military-industrial complexes, and investment regulation.

Though reform cannot proceed without pain, Japan places importance on its realization, as it will serve as the foundation for all aspects of Ukraine’s politics, economics, and national security in the future.

It is essential for Ukraine to carry out bold and comprehensive reforms in order to gain resilience and achieve sustainable development.

This year’s G7 Summit Communiqué reaffirmed the efforts of the G7 to strengthen Ukraine’s democracy and institutions, encouraging further progress on reform.

Based on the commitment of the G7 leaders, the G7 ambassadors’ group in Kyiv, including our Ambassador KURAI, has been working very closely and actively with President ZELENSKYY, the Ukrainian government and parliament, and civil society of Ukraine to exchange opinions and offer advice.

Japan will continue to play an active role in the group to strongly support the efforts of the Ukrainian people.

Finally, as State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan in charge of Europe, I promise to continue to strongly support Ukraine, which is on the path of development as a European country, by cooperating with all colleagues attending this conference.
Thank you for your kind attention.