G7 Leaders’ Video Conference
On February 24, one year since Russia’s aggression began, commencing at 11:00 pm (JST), for approximately 90 minutes, the G7 Leaders’ Video Conference was held under the chairmanship of Mr. KISHIDA Fumio, Prime Minister of Japan. The meeting was called for by Japan as this year's G7 Presidency. The overview of the meeting is as follows. After the opening remarks by Prime Minister Kishida as the Chair and a statement by H.E. Mr. Volodymyr ZELENSKYY, President of Ukraine, the G7 Leaders had a discussion. The G7 Leaders' Statement was released following the meeting.
- (1) Prime Minister Kishida expressed his sincere respect for the courage and perseverance of the Ukrainian people and their strength in standing up for their own defense, noting that Russia continues its unjustifiable aggression and attacks targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure in violation of international law. Prime Minister Kishida stressed that the G7 will demonstrate its strong determination to stop Russia’s aggression and uphold the international order based on the rule of law, through concrete efforts including stringent sanctions against Russia and robust support for Ukraine.
- (2) Prime Minister Kishida pointed out that cooperation with the broader international community is also vital. In this context, Prime Minister Kishida welcomed the UN General Assembly resolution calling for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine which was adopted on February 23 with the support of 141 countries, as it indicates again the strong will of most members of the international community to demand Russia’s immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal.
- (3) Solidarity with Ukraine
Prime Minister Kishida expressed his support for President Zelenskyy who proposes basic principles toward peace in his Peace Formula and continues to make sincere efforts to achieve peace. He also paid tribute to President Zelenskyy's dedicated diplomatic efforts, including his recent visits to European countries. Moreover, he expressed that the G7 will continue to make its utmost efforts to support Ukraine under his chairmanship this year, following the leadership of Germany last year.
- (1) Prime Minister Kishida stated that sanctions against Russia by cooperation among like-minded countries including the G7 have already had certain effects. He stressed that the G7 needs to continue working together in imposing costs on Russia.
- (2) Prime Minister Kishida stated that he would like to show the G7’s clear message by announcing additional sanctions regarding goods and technology that support Russia’s military and manufacturing sector in the Leaders’ Statement this time. He also pointed out that measures against evasion and circumvention of sanctions are now especially important, and expressed his expectation for further discussions on this matter under an Enforcement Coordination Mechanism which was agreed upon this time.
- (3) Prime Minister Kishida announced that Japan has decided to impose the following new sanctions against Russia: (i) freezing assets of Russian individuals and organizations, (ii) adding entities to the export ban, (iii) expanding the export ban to items that contribute to the enhancement of Russian industrial capacities, such as drone-related items, and (iv) freezing assets of Russian financial institutions.
- (4) Prime Minister Kishida also stated that it is significant to prevent third parties from providing military support to Russia in order to stop Russia’s aggression as soon as possible, and that he hopes to work closely with relevant countries to address this issue.
3. Assistance to Ukraine and its neighboring countries
- (1) Noting that Ukraine is bravely fighting to protect its independence and democracy amid Russia’s continued attacks and destruction of critical infrastructure, Prime Minister Kishida stated that he was proud of the G7’s efforts to support it. He also expressed his respect to the G7 members for rapidly advancing their military support for Ukraine.
- (2) Prime Minister Kishida stated that the Leaders' Statement this time confirmed the G7's commitment to continued humanitarian assistance, assistance to support the energy sector as well as assistance to help maintain Ukraine’s economic and financial stability. He announced that the G7 has increased its budget and economic support to Ukraine to 39 billion US Dollars for 2023. He also explained that Japan has decided to provide additional budget support amounting to 5.5 billion US Dollars and will seek approval by the Diet for relevant legislative measures, in addition to the previously announced humanitarian assistance and budget support totaling approximately 1.6 billion US Dollars.
- (3) Prime Minister Kishida explained that Japan has implemented fine-tuned support standing with Ukrainian people, such as humanitarian and financial assistance as well as assistance in the energy sector, taking advantage of Japan’s strength. He also introduced Japan’s assistance for mine action conducted in January this year in cooperation with Cambodia, the country Japan has been supporting for the past 20 years. He also touched upon Japan’s assistance in the area of broadcasting, which contributes to fair and impartial journalism and strengthened democracy.
- (4) While pointing out the importance of support for Ukraine’s neighboring countries, Prime Minister Kishida introduced that Japan has decided to provide Moldova with a yen loan equivalent to 100 million US Dollars.
- (5) Regarding reconstruction assistance, Prime Minister Kishida welcomed the launch of the Multi-agency Donor Coordination Platform for Ukraine. He also expressed his commitment to contribute to the reconstruction of Ukraine taking advantage of Japan’s experience and expertise in areas such as mine action, livelihood reconstruction including the development of basic infrastructure such as electricity, agricultural and industrial promotion, education, strengthened governance, and protection of cultural properties.
4. Response to Russia’s nuclear threats
- (1) Referring to Russian President Putin's recent announcement to suspend the implementation of the New START Treaty and to continue to strengthen its nuclear forces, Prime Minister Kishida expressed Japan’s serious concern about Russia’s behavior from the perspective of both achieving a world without nuclear weapons and ensuring security.
- (2) Prime Minister Kishida also stated that Russia’s threat to use nuclear weapons is a serious menace to the peace and security of the international community and is absolutely unacceptable, and that the 77-year record of the non-use of nuclear weapons must never be broken by Russia. Prime Minister Kishida explained his plan to strongly emphasize this point at the Hiroshima Summit in May.
- (3) Prime Minister Kishida stated that a clear message should be issued on this point not only from the G7 but also from the broader international community. In this regard, he expressed his hope to keep close coordination among the G7 in other multilateral fora including the G20.
5. Engagement with and support for the Global South
Prime Minister Kishida emphasized the importance of engagement with and support for the so-called Global South. Referring to the UN General Assembly resolution adopted on February 23 by the overwhelming majority including the Global South, Prime Minister Kishida stated that it is essential for the G7 to make efforts in the food sector including the EU Solidarity Lanes and the Black Sea Grain Initiative as well as assistance for vulnerable countries and to show the G7’s contribution to the Global South, while emphasizing the importance of upholding the international order based on the rule of law. Prime Minister Kishida also pointed out that cooperation with India, the G20 Presidency, is especially important in this regard.
- (1) Prime Minister Kishida summarized that, amidst continued Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the G7 Leaders were able to confirm that the G7 will continue to work in solidarity this year, as it did last year. Prime Minister Kishida stated that he is willing to continue discussions with other G7 Leaders based on his determination that unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force should never be allowed anywhere in the world.
- (2) Prime Minister Kishida concluded the meeting by saying that he looks forward to a candid discussion with other G7 Leaders at the Hiroshima Summit in May on a wide range of issues facing the international community and regional affairs including the Indo-Pacific region.
- (3) As a result of the discussion, the G7 Leaders concurred that the G7’s solidarity will never waver in standing with Ukraine, in supporting countries and people in need, and in upholding the international order based on the rule of law.