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Japan PM Kishida to consider visiting Ukraine if conditions met

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Wednesday that he will consider visiting Ukraine, under invasion by Russia since February 2022, to hold talks with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy if the right conditions are met.

“Nothing has been decided at this point, but we will consider” whether to visit Ukraine “in consideration of various circumstances,” Kishida said at a parliamentary session after a ruling party lawmaker urged the premier to follow the example of leaders of other nations.

Kishida, a veteran lawmaker representing a constituency in Hiroshima, is scheduled to host the Group of Seven summit, set to be held for three days from May 19 in the western Japan city devastated by a U.S. atomic bomb in August 1945.

At the gathering, Kishida plans to set out his vision of a world without nuclear weapons amid fears that Russia could use an atomic device against Ukraine in the ongoing war, amid several months of low approval ratings for his Cabinet in recent months.

Among the G-7 countries, British, Canadian, French, German, and Italian leaders have already visited Ukraine since the war began. In December, U.S. President Joe Biden also held a summit with Zelenskyy in Washington.

Kishida has been eager to make a trip to Ukraine as chair of the G-7 summit, but a Japanese government official said it may be difficult to arrange his visit to the Eastern European state for security reasons.

Relations between Japan and Russia have been deteriorating as Tokyo, along with other G-7 members, has been imposing punitive sanctions on Moscow in the wake of its aggression toward Ukraine.

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