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Japan to provide suits and masks to Ukraine for protection against chemical weapons

Japan will provide the Ukrainian government with protective masks, protective clothing and drones for dealing with chemical weapons (Image courtesy: Ministry of Defence, Japan)

Acting immediately on a fresh request from the Ukrainian government, Japan has decided to provide Kiev with protective suits and masks for protection against chemical weapons.

"Based on the new request from the Ukrainian government, we have decided to provide the Ukrainian government with protective masks, protective clothing and drones for dealing with chemical weapons," Japan's Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi announced on Tuesday.

The Japanese Defence Ministry reaffirmed that as "Russia continues to invade Ukraine", the country's Self-Defence Force (SDF) will continue to provide "as much support as possible" to Ukraine.

A SDF aircraft, it informed, has just transported bulletproof waistcoats to Ukraine.

Later today, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is also scheduled to participate in a virtual meeting with the US President Joe Biden and "alliances and friendly countries" to discuss support for Ukraine.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told the media in Tokyo today that Kishida will "firmly convey" Japan's position on the situation in Ukraine at the meeting.

Tokyo has intensified support for Kiev since Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, who visited Poland as Kishida's special envoy earlier this month, met his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba in Warsaw for about an hour on April 2.

Accepting that Ukrainians are "in a difficult situation", Hayashi flew back to Tokyo with a group of refugees, a gesture which was deeply appreciated by Ukraine and also the United States.

"We certainly welcome and applaud the actions of the — of Japan and the Japanese leadership, and are grateful to their steps in taking in refugees and their humanitarian support through this conflict. And they're an important partner, as you know, and have been a part of important meetings on the conflict in Ukraine in recent months, including on the President's last trip to Europe," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday.

On April 13, Nobuo Kishi, during his second video call with Ukraine Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov, had assured him of the Japanese Defence Ministry and the Self-Defense Forces providing "maximum support" for Ukraine.

"This Russian invasion is a serious violation of international law and the Charter of the United Nations, which clearly violates Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and prohibits the use of force. One-sided changes in the status quo by force shake the foundations of the international order," Kishi told his Ukrainian counterpart.

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