2023年12月9日土曜日

JAPAN TO JOIN MULTINATIONAL PROJECT TO CLEAR MINES IN UKRAINE

@Jackie San


TOKYOJapan plans to join a multinational project to clear land mines in Ukraine, a government source said Tuesday, as the country continues to resist Russia's invasion.


Under the project being planned by the U.S.-led "Ukrainian Defense Contact Group," Japan's Self-Defense Forces are expected to provide mine-clearing equipment for Ukraine and cooperate in personnel training, according to the source.


The SDF will also likely join the group's framework in the information and technology field to help enhance the war-torn country's cybersecurity, the source said, adding that Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara will announce the plan soon.


The move comes as Tokyo has been stepping up its efforts to make noncombat contributions to Ukraine, including its eventual reconstruction, as Japan's strict rules on weapon and ammunition exports under the war-renouncing Constitution prevents it from offering direct military aid.


While details remain undisclosed, Japan might be asked to provide defense equipment for mine destruction, the export of which is banned by domestic regulations, the source said.


The U.S.-led group holds meetings regularly, with Lithuania leading a framework to support clearing landmines and calling on other countries to join.


Japan has already delivered mine detection devices to Ukraine and conducted training programs for its demining personnel.


Japan has also agreed with Cambodia to work together in clearing Russian landmines and unexploded bombs in Ukraine. Cambodia succeeded in removing many mines laid during its past civil war with assistance from Japan and others.


About 30 percent of Ukraine's territory is estimated to be contaminated by mines and unexploded ordnance, and it is expected to take at least 10 years to eliminate them, according to Ukrainian authorities.


Along with the United States and other Group of Seven industrialized nations, Japan has maintained its support for Ukraine while imposing economic sanctions on Russia for the invasion since February 2022.

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