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Japan’s provision of bulletproof vests to Ukraine signifies landmark shift in security policy 

  • March 5, 2022
  • , All national papers
  • JMH Summary

All national papers reported on Saturday that in response to a request from Ukraine, the GOJ informally decided on Friday to provide the country with SDF supplies such as bulletproof vests, helmets, tents, cameras, and generators, all of which are all purely defensive in nature. Although Japan’s provision of nonlethal equipment is in line with growing moves overseas to help arm the outgunned Ukrainian military with an array of weapons such as missiles, rifles, and ammunition, the papers stressed that the military aid from Japan is still “extremely unusual” because one of the nation’s longstanding security principles prohibits the direct export of defense hardware to parties to a conflict. As such, the decision marks a “turning point in the nation’s security policy,” in the words of a GOJ source. Yomiuri said the Kishida administration once again chose to align closely with the United States and Europe, noting that U.S. Ambassador to Japan Emanuel welcomed the move by saying Japan is playing a “historic role.”   


GOJ officials reportedly defended the decision to send defense supplies to Ukraine, with Prime Minister Kishida telling the press on Friday evening: “It represents Japan’s strong solidarity with Ukraine. Japan stands side by side with the Ukrainian people, who are trying desperately to defend their sovereignty, homeland, and families. We would like to deliver as soon as possible the necessary supplies to Ukraine as it is facing paramount difficulties.” Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno said the provision is intended to defend the lives of Ukrainian people and not for abetting the expansion of an international conflict, underscoring that the eastern European country is not a “warring party.” 

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