All national dailies reported on the arrival in Japan from Poland on Tuesday of a group of 20 evacuees from Ukraine who had hoped to travel to Japan but were unable to secure their own means of transportation. Prime Minister Kishida had sent Foreign Minister Hayashi to Poland to see what kind of aid Tokyo could provide to Ukrainian evacuees and the GOJ decided to transport the evacuees to Japan on a government plane when Hayashi returned. The papers wrote that the GOJ will cover the evacuees’ daily needs and medical care and provide language lessons, job training, and education for at least six months in cooperation with local governments and private companies. It will also study how to offer them long-term assistance. According to the papers, Japan had accepted 404 evacuees from Ukraine as of Sunday.
Mainichi speculated that the transportation of the evacuees on a government plane was intended to demonstrate that the GOJ is proactively providing humanitarian assistance to Ukraine amid Japan’s legal restrictions for offering military assistance to the nation. The paper pointed out that it is unusual for the government to allow foreign civilians to board a government aircraft as such planes are usually used for travel by the prime minister or imperial family members. One unusual instance of the use a government plane was to transport in 2004 the families of five Japanese nationals abducted by the DPRK who had already returned to Japan in 2002. When asked by a reporter on Tuesday about the legal grounds for using a government plane to transport the Ukrainian evacuees, Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno replied that Foreign Minister Hayashi’s use of a government plane is based on the SDF Law and the evacuees accompanied Hayashi.
Asahi conjectured that Prime Minister Kishida decided to take the initiative in accepting Ukrainian evacuees to demonstrate at home and abroad Japan’s visible efforts to offer assistance. Yomiuri speculated that the international community’s critical views about Japan’s reluctance to accept refugees were behind the Kantei’s decision to proactively extend humanitarian assistance.