Two injured soldiers of Ukraine's armed forces will receive medical treatment in a hospital in Japan beginning next month, the Japanese defense minister said Thursday, as the country aims to show a stronger commitment to Ukraine ahead of the Group of Seven summit.
The two men in their 20s will undergo rehabilitation treatment at the Self-Defense Forces Central Hospital in Tokyo after one lost a leg while another lost both legs in Ukraine's ongoing battle to defend itself against Russia, according to the Defense Ministry.
The move was agreed upon after a meeting at the ministry between Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada and Ukrainian Ambassador to Japan Sergiy Korsunsky the same day.
It will be the first time for the hospital to treat soldiers from a foreign military. The plan to accept wounded soldiers is in response to a Ukrainian request.
"It's also meaningful from a humanitarian point of view," said a Defense Ministry official.
The soldiers, who are scheduled to arrive via commercial aircraft, will undergo rehab for one to two months using wheelchairs and prosthetic legs.
Approximately 2.2 million to 4.2 million yen ($16,000 to $30,500) in expenses for their hospital stay and travel will be paid by the Japanese government, in principle.
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 only offered non-lethal defense equipment to Kyiv, such as bulletproof vests and helmets.
However, if those treated are sent back to the frontline after recovery, it could be perceived as providing combat capability to another country.
Regarding the hospital's guidelines on accepting patients or whether it plans on providing extended medical treatment, the official said, "We will decide on a policy after analyzing issues brought up during the treatment of the two (soldiers)."
The SDF hospital's main purpose is to treat members of its forces, but it will accept soldiers from Ukraine following the defense minister's decision. It also receives general patients.