Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi arrived Saturday in Warsaw to assist Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion of the East European country.
Before returning to Tokyo on Tuesday, Hayashi plans to hold talks with senior Polish officials and visit a sheltering place for Ukrainian evacuees in Warsaw.
Japan plans to take about 30 Ukrainian evacuees to Japan on a government plane when Hayashi, who is visiting Poland as a special envoy of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, completes the five-day trip, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Japan has come up with the plan to use the plane as airfares have skyrocketed since the invasion started in late February, making it difficult for Ukrainians now in Poland to flee onward to Japan even if they wish, according to the sources.
His visit is also aimed at demonstrating Japan's commitment to international efforts to help Ukraine and Poland, which has received more than 2 million refugees from the war-torn country.
The number of evacuees traveling to Japan with Hayashi could increase or decrease at the last minute, the sources said.
Japan accepted a total of 337 Ukrainian evacuees between March 2 and Wednesday, according to the Immigration Services Agency of Japan.
On Sunday, Hayashi will observe how refugees are being received in the southeastern Polish city of Rzeszow where Japan has set up a temporary office.
Initially, Kishida had planned to dispatch Justice Minister Yoshihisa Furukawa to Poland but decided to send Hayashi instead because Furukawa was found to have been in close contact of a family member infected with the coronavirus.