Japan will accept injured Ukrainian soldiers for medical treatment as part of efforts to support their war-torn homeland in its ongoing battle to defend itself against Russia, sources close to the matter said Wednesday.
In a rare move, several soldiers will be accepted at the Self-Defense Forces Central Hospital in Tokyo as early as next month for medical care and physical therapy, the sources said.
The Japanese government is aiming to show a stronger commitment to Ukraine ahead of the Group of Seven summit beginning on Friday. The plan to accept wounded soldiers, including those injured by landmines, is in response to a Ukrainian request, a Japanese government source said.
Japan's plan to treat injured soldiers may be discussed when Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada meets with Ukrainian Ambassador to Japan Sergiy Korsunsky on Thursday.
While the United States and European countries have been providing tanks, fighter jets and long-range artillery to Ukraine, Japan's strict regulations on weapons exports means the country has offered non-lethal defense equipment to Kyiv, such as bulletproof vests, helmets and drones.
The plan will have to be handled carefully. If those treated are sent back to the frontline after recovery, it could be perceived as providing combat capability to another country.
The government will also consider whether it can bear the costs of medical treatment, the source said.
Poland and some other countries have put in place similar supporting schemes.
The SDF hospital is jointly operated by the ground, maritime, and air self-defense forces, and has around 30 medical departments, including surgery, digestive surgery and rehabilitation.
There has been a case of a Ukrainian national who was injured by Russian shelling who came to Japan through an acquaintance to receive treatment at a hospital in Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo.