Japan to give ¥150 billion to Ukraine

Aid money promised as Russia is booted from G-8 over Crimea grab

AFP-JIJI

Japan will give up to ¥150 billion in financial aid to Ukraine, the government confirmed Tuesday, as the Group of Eight club of rich nations booted Russia off the membership list.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the figure as he and fellow world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, canceled an upcoming G-8 meeting in Sochi, Russia, and said it would be replaced by a G-7 event that excludes Moscow.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that Kiev needs help at a time of huge strain on the country’s finances.

“It is extremely important that each country in the international community gives support so that Ukraine, facing a severe economic situation amid political confusion, will be able to restore economic stability,” Suga, the top government spokesman, said.

“Against that background, the prime minister announced that Japan will provide economic assistance of up to ¥150 billion on condition that the Ukraine government will reach an agreement with the (International Monetary Fund) on economic reforms.

“Of the sum, ¥110 billion will be (low-interest) yen loans.”

At the meeting in The Hague, the G-7′s leaders also threatened tougher sanctions against Russia for its absorption of Crimea, which has plunged relations between the West and Moscow to their lowest point since the Cold War.

The gathering came as Ukraine ordered its outnumbered troops to withdraw from Crimea as yet another of its military bases was stormed.

Earlier, the White House had said it was “very concerned” by a buildup of Russian troops on the border.

Tokyo has fallen into line with Washington and its allies in tightening the screws on Moscow despite the differing strategic priorities.

Abe has held multiple summits with President Vladimir Putin since coming to office in late 2012 and was one of the few pro-Western leaders who attended the opening of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Others stayed away to register disquiet over Moscow’s anti-gay laws.

Abe has been pushing to expand the two countries’ economic ties and resolve the decades-old territorial conflict at a time that Tokyo is embroiled in separate disputes with China and South Korea.

Isolating Putin over Crimea threatens to derail progress on the Russian-held islands off Hokkaido, which has prevented Tokyo and Moscow from signing a formal treaty ending World War II hostilities.

  • Sigh Westberry

    Abe is merely playing the field. Does anyone doubt that Abe wishes Japan could get the USA to close its bases in Japan and leave? I mean how long ago did WW2 end?
    “A Japan that can say NO”… does anyone remember that book? Well, Russia can say NO and in fact Putin did say “NO”. And he has the will to make it stick! But being the obedient son Abe bows to the USA once again by giving the Ukraine money that Japan does not even have. Of course, when he is all alone we all know what Abe daydreams about!

    • phu

      I agree that Japan should be looking inward rather than throwing money at others’ problems… but does this really have to be about the US? Abe and his administration have made enough idiotic decisions without American intervention; I don’t really see a reason to lay this on anyone’s doorstep but Japan’s.

      It’s easy to look at “Washington and its allies” and see that last part as an afterthought or a footnote. But despite the US’ (well-deserved) reputation, it does not coerce absolutely everyone into absolutely every decision.

  • Mag

    Complete waste of tax money which is severely needed back home