The war was never meant to last this long.

When Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces spilled over the border into neighboring Ukraine on Feb. 24 last year, his commanders thought they would take the capital Kyiv within days. But with NATO support and the economic backing of other allies including Japan, Ukrainian forces continue to confound Russian military planners and keep Moscow's gains to a minimum.

Of the estimated 8 million people who have fled the violence in Ukraine for other countries, the latest Justice Ministry figures show that 2,302 have evacuated to Japan, with the vast majority of that number still residing in the country as of Feb. 15.