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Japan, Ukraine move towards defence equipment agreement

Japan and Ukraine are moving closer to finalising a defence equipment and technology agreement that will facilitate closer co-operation between the two countries, Janes understands.

The potential alliance is regarded in Tokyo as part of wider efforts to expand defence industrial ties with a view to exports and joint research projects. Ukraine also views the arrangement as an export opportunity.

The latest round of bilateral talks towards the defence agreement were held in Kiev on 1 June, led by Roman Mashovets, the deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential office, and Takashi Kurai, Japan's ambassador to Ukraine.

The Ukrainian presidential office noted in a statement that the two sides “discussed ways of further developing and deepening bilateral relations … in the defence and military-technical spheres”.

The presidential office also indicated opportunities for joint investment in defence industrial activities. “Roman Mashovets noted the need to expand bilateral co-operation in the context of strengthening the defence capabilities of our country, and with assistance provided by Japan,” the statement said.

In March, Japan's Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi held discussions in Tokyo towards the same objective with his Ukrainian counterpart Andriy Taran. The Ukrainian government said that Taran's Tokyo visit was the first ever by a sitting Ukrainian defence minister.

In 2018 the two countries signed their first defence accord. The memorandum on co-operation and exchanges has facilitated the establishment of a forum for defence dialogue as well as military exercises and exchanges.

Janes understands from the Ministry of Defense (MoD) in Tokyo that under this memorandum the two countries are also in the process of identifying areas of co-operation on defence equipment and technologies. This is likely to be focused on potential Japanese exports to Ukraine, although this has not been confirmed.

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