Japan facing hurdles in arranging prime minister's visit to Ukraine

The Japanese government is trying to make arrangements for Prime Minister Kishida Fumio to visit Ukraine before hosting the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima in May.

US President Joe Biden and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visited Kyiv on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, to show solidarity with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Kishida is the only G7 leader who has not visited Ukraine since Russia's invasion began in February of last year.

Some government officials are pushing for Kishida's trip to Kyiv, as he has received an invitation from the Ukrainian president. They also said the prime minister should demonstrate leadership as the G7 chair.

But securing safety is the biggest challenge for Japan.

The other G7 nations are said to have mobilized military forces and special agents to facilitate their leaders' journeys to Ukraine.

Japan has no explicit provisions that allow the Self-Defense Forces to respond to such arrangements.

It would also be difficult to protect information because it is customary in Japan to report the prime minister's overseas trips to the Diet beforehand.

But some lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition parties are suggesting exceptions be made to enable Kishida to travel to Ukraine. They say the priority should be given to securing his safety.