The Japanese government has confirmed that it will give financial aid of $1.5 billion to Ukraine. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the aid as he and fellow leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama canceled a G8 meeting, which was replaced by a G7 meeting with the exclusion of Russia.
Speaking to reporters in Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the aid is to help Kiev as the current crisis drains the nation’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 said. He added, “Against that background, the prime minister announced that Japan will provide economic assistance of up to 150 billion yen (roughly US$1.5 billion) on condition that the Ukraine government will reach an agreement with the (International Monetary Fund) on economic reforms. Of the sum, 110 billion yen will be (low-interest) yen loans.” While meeting at The Hague, the G7 said it would issue tougher sanctions on Russia for annexing Crimea. The relationship between the former Soviet Union and the West turned icy over the crisis, which has resulted in Crimea choosing to become part of Russia.
Japan, who has seen improved ties with Russia in the past months before the Ukraine crisis erupted, was forced to tighten screws on its relationship with Moscow, along with the U.S. and its other allies. Prime Minister Abe has been to multiple summits with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as both exert effort to widen economic ties on energy imports, such as much-needed natural gas by the island nation. He was also one of the few pro-Western leaders who attended the Sochi Olympic opening ceremonies as other nations attempted to distance themselves from the nation. With Japan’s move to isolate Putin over the Crimean issue, many expect that the amicable relations built by the two recently will crumble and further delay the signing of a formal treaty to end hostilities rooting from World War II.
[via Channel News Asia]
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