Japan conveys willingness to accept wounded Ukraine soldiers

Japan's government has told Ukraine it will accept two wounded soldiers from the country at a hospital of the Self-Defense Forces next month.

Defense Minister Hamada Yasukazu conveyed the plan to Ukrainian Ambassador Sergiy Korsunsky on Thursday at a meeting in his ministry.

The soldiers are in their 20s. Amid Russia's aggression in Ukraine, one suffered double leg amputation, the other a right leg amputation.

Hamada told Korsunsky that the two will be admitted to the Self-Defense Force Central Hospital in Tokyo, at the request of Ukraine's government.

It is the first time for the Self-Defense Forces to accept injured foreign soldiers.

The defense ministry estimates that the treatment will take one to two months, including rehabilitation. Expenses of about 16,000 to 30,000 dollars each for hospitalization, prosthetic legs and travel will be in principle covered by the Japanese government.

The Self-Defense Force Central Hospital is the core facility among the SDF's 11 hospitals in the country. It is designed to offer high-level treatment to patients with serious injuries and other problems. It was also one of the key hospitals for treating COVID patients when the coronavirus spread widely in Japan.

The Defense Ministry says the move is part of internationally coordinated efforts to support Ukraine, and significant from a humanitarian viewpoint.

Sources say the Japanese government plans to accept around 10 to 20 wounded soldiers from Ukraine per year.

More than 20 mainly European countries have accepted such soldiers.