Japan, Germany leaders vow further support for Ukraine

Japan's Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have agreed to work with allies to continue strict sanctions on Russia and assistance for Ukraine.

The two leaders held talks in Tokyo on Saturday. They first met only with their interpreters, and then allowed more people to join. The discussions lasted about 50 minutes overall.

Kishida expressed his hope to have candid exchanges with Scholz on topics including bilateral relations. Kishida also said that, as last year's and this year's Group of Seven host countries, they will discuss global issues such as the situations in Ukraine and Indo-Pacific.

Scholz responded that he wanted to continue cooperation between the two countries.

The two leaders confirmed the necessity to end Russia's invasion of Ukraine as soon as possible, and that Russia's nuclear weapons threat is absolutely intolerable.

Kishida and Scholz also agreed to enhance cooperation, including in security and to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific, apparently with China's increasing assertiveness in mind.

They promised to work together toward the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima in May. The agenda is expected to cover global issues such as strengthening the United Nations, including the Security Council reform, as well as nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

Later in the day, Japanese and German cabinet members joined their leaders to hold the first cabinet-level meeting between the two countries.

The ministers agreed to promote cooperation in the area of economic security. They discussed how to build strong supply chains for mineral resources and semiconductors, protection of key infrastructures, measures against cyberattacks, as well as protection and education of emerging technologies.

After the talks, Kishida told reporters that Japan and Germany will further step up cooperation to maintain and strengthen a free and open international order based on the rule of law.

Kishida has now completed one-on-one talks with all of the other G7 leaders ahead of the summit in Hiroshima.