Statement by State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Mr. TAKEI Shunsuke at the General Assembly Debate on “The situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine”

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18 July 2023

Mr. President, colleagues,

My heart breaks every time I see the horrifying images in Ukraine – fleeing people and destroyed civilian infrastructures.

My home prefecture of Miyazaki in Japan, a city of one million people – just as many as Kherson Oblast of Ukraine- , hosts refugees from Ukraine. I am proud that Japan, including Miyazaki, has provided a safe environment for more than 2,000 Ukraine refugees though the number may sound modest. We have also decided to accept injured Ukrainian soldiers in Japan.

Japan has announced providing 7.6 billion dollars of assistance to Ukraine and has been steadily implementing it. We will also strongly support recovery and reconstruction in Ukraine.

Mr. President, colleagues,

Let us remember: we have seen too much suffering caused by the unlawful aggression by Russia: in refugees, food and energy security crisis, human rights abuses, victims and casualties. There would be no more if Russia heeded to the Resolutions of the General Assembly.

I condemn Russia for taking the rest of the world hostage and choosing to terminate its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative. Japan strongly urges Russia to return to the international framework and stop blaming others for the crises it has created by its aggression.

In this regard, I admire Secretary-General Guterres and his team. Their tireless effort has alleviated some of the collateral damage to the rest of the world.

Let us remember: it has been almost 10 years since the General Assembly declared that the so-called “annexation” of Crimea had no validity. What we have been witnessing since then up until now is the consistent and long-term disrespect for the UN Charter by a permanent member of the Security Council.

Complete and unconditional withdrawal of the Russian military forces should be integral part of a just peace in Ukraine. Peace would become unjust if aggressors were rewarded. A just peace must be based on the principles of the UN Charter.

Mr. President, colleagues,

We are at a cross road. It is not about choosing camps. Nor is it about taking the middle ground between opposing camps. The choice is about the rules. Not just the rules for some, but the rules for all – the UN Charter. We have to unite for the rule of law and defend the UN Charter. Justice based on international law must always prevail.

I thank you.

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