Forum “Asia Strategy in Action. The Role of Ukraine-Japan Cooperation”
16 February 2021, 17:18


On February 16, the New Europe Center organized the forum “Asia Strategy in Action. The Role of Ukraine-Japan Cooperation” with the participation of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Ambassador of Japan to Ukraine, Ambassador of Ukraine to Japan, leading Ukrainian and Japanese experts.

Alyona Getmanchuk, the New Europe Center prepared the discussion paper “Ukraine-Japan: how to secure an effective global partnership?”.

Watch the event in English here.

Pictures from the event can be found here.

Find more about the project “Asia Strategy in Action. The Role of Ukraine-Japan Cooperation” here.



Discussion Panel #1. The Security Environment in Europe and Asia: views from Ukraine and Japan


Takashi Kurai, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Ukraine

  • “The basic and fundamental strategy of Ukraine is of course towards the West, it’s very natural and we do respect and even support it. But now Ukraine is trying to look up the Asian side a bit more, it is very good for Ukraine, it will definitely expand the scope of diplomacy, in other words it will have a bit more tools for diplomacy. And for us it will expand the scope of cooperation between our two countries and we could find more areas for cooperation, which have something to do with what’s going on now in Asia”.

Yevhenii Yenin, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

  • “Japan has provided more than $3 billion in financial assistance to Ukraine since independence. However, Ukraine is ready to be not only a recipient, but also a stable partner in the field of security and counteraction to new threats (pandemic, global warming etc.)”.
  • “By and large, we were faced with the first force scenario of changing borders after World War II. We saw it in Crimea, where this precedent can be used tomorrow, we can only guess. We know about the ambitions not only of the Russian side regarding the forced change of borders, and all these issues are of great concern to our Japanese colleagues as well. The precedents are taken from Crimea, we are especially worried about the fact of increasing militarization of the peninsula, even its possible nuclearization. But this is not just a qualitative and quantitative strengthening of the military grouping of the Russian Federation on the territory of the temporarily occupied Crimea, it is also an increase in the operational capabilities of the Russian military machine for their possible operations in various regions”.

Bonji Ohara, Senior Fellow, Sasakawa Peace Foundation

  • “We cannot wait for the result of Major Power Game between US and China”

Oleksiy Melnyk, Co-Director, Foreign Relations and International Security Programs, Razumkov Centre

  • “Ukraine, as it happened, found itself at the epicenter of the global confrontation, where the main key players are Russia, China, the collective West, and the United States, which has been facilitated by our history and geography. From the very beginning, the Russian-Ukrainian conflict went beyond the bilateral one, and despite the small signs of its stabilization and de-escalation that we are witnessing now, it seems to me that we are not fully aware of its scale and consequences not only for Ukraine”.

Michito Tsuruoka, Associate Professor, Keio University

  • “The security situation in Asia is becoming increasingly important for Europe itself, not only because Europe is interested in prosperity and security, but also because there is a connection. There are now similarities in the security situation in both Europe and Asia. It is becoming more and more difficult to ignore this, because now the world is a global picture where everything is interconnected”.

Moderator: Alyona Getmanchuk, Director of the New Europe Center

  • “As a result of this forum we would like to make Ukraine and Japan one step closer to each other, more understandable, first of all at the expert level. At the same time, we are very happy that today we have high diplomatic blessing”.



Discussion Panel #2. Japan and Ukraine: how to secure effective global partnership 


Sergiy Korsunsky, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to Japan

  • “Ukraine and Japan share common threats to territorial integrity. If Ukraine has a problem with one neighbor, Japan in the north – the Northern Territories occupied by Russia, which does not want to return them, and in the south – Senkaku islands, which are claimed by China and even Taiwan”.

Atsuko Higashino, Associate Professor, University of Tsukuba 

  • “Japan and China are looking at Ukraine from slightly different angle. China considers Ukraine as a country that shares communist experience. From its side Japan sees you as a European country that we could share knowledge, principles and values, and your connectedness with the EU. I see, and many will agree, that China can accept you because you are not yet a member of the EU. This is the second thing that distinguishes the vision of Japan from China”.

Shoichi Itoh, Senior Analyst, The Institute of Energy Economics 

  • “The global market is becoming more integrated and we must have sustainable development goals and play by fair rules. By joining forces, we will be able to resist the aggressors. China and Russia have a common interest and are acting against Europe’s economic values in violation of international law”.

Olena Mykal, Senior Lecturer, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, PhD (Waseda University)

  • “We must continue to expand the security dialogue between Japan and Ukraine. We can have great opportunities if we cover certain aspects of cooperation between Ukraine and Japan, Japan and NATO. Ukrainians and Japanese take part in NATO’s Partnership for Peace initiatives. Japan participates in NATO trust funds for Ukraine, cooperates in the field of hybrid wars, we need to find more opportunities to develop it and how to make everything more profitable for both countries”.

Moderator: Sergiy Solodkyy, First Deputy Director of the New Europe Center



Discussion Panel #3. The role of soft power in Ukraine-Japan relations. What should be done differently?


Volodymyr Sheiko, Director General, Ukrainian Institute

  • “Ukraine is little known in Japan. Because of this, Japanese experts do not have strong associations about Ukraine. In addition, there are no things in culture or in the humanitarian sphere that the Japanese would inevitably associate with Ukraine. That`s why Ukraine can not only correct something negative, some considerations or stereotypes, but also offer in the field, where certain ideas have not yet been established, some positive agenda”.

Daisuke Kitade, Researcher, Mitsui&Co. Global Strategic Studies Institute

  • “The Japanese do not have a clear image of Ukraine due to the lack of an active diaspora, remote territorial location. Many people in Japan see Ukraine as a post-soviet country. It is time to consider it as a sovereign strong state.”

Olga Khomenko, Associate Professor, Kyiv School of Economics, PhD (University of Tokyo, 2005)

  • “The Japanese do not need to perceive Ukraine as a post-communist state. I think this is a key phrase that everyone should remember. Yes, this year Ukraine celebrates 30 years of independence, but as a historian I can tell you that we have a thousand-year tradition of statehood. This must not be forgotten and it must be spoken in plain language in the country where we are rebranding Ukraine”.

Nataliia Butyrska, East Asia specialist

  • “According to the latest data, there are approximately 200,000 IT specialists in our market. This is an area that is of great interest to Japan in the process of bilateral cooperation, here we can show something new, can demonstrate Ukraine on the other hand, in terms of our technological achievements”.

Moderator: Takashi Hirano, Head of Japan section, Ukrinform agency

  • “Over the last 6 years intergovernmental relations have improved, when Japan imposed sanctions on Russia and decided to help Ukraine much more, but this did not help ordinary Japanese to learn more about Ukraine. The situation is as before, although progress and achievements are also observed, especially, the activities of the Embassy of Ukraine in Japan and the organization of this event by the New Europe Center”.


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