Japan PM Kishida says he invited to visit Ukraine, nothing decided yet

Tokyo Stock Exchange holds a ceremony marking the end of trading in 2022
Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the end of trading in 2022 at the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) in Tokyo, Japan December 30, 2022. REUTERS/Issei Kato

TOKYO, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he had told Ukraine's President Volodomyr Zelenskiy in a phone call on Friday that he would weigh an invitation to visit Kyiv depending on "various circumstances" but nothing had yet been decided.

Kishida also reaffirmed Tokyo's full support for Ukraine in its fight against Russia as Japan assumes the rotating chair of the Group of Seven (G7) leading economies.

"I strongly condemned Russia's continued aggression, and stated that Japan would do its utmost to provide assistance, including to get through the winter, in order to protect the lives of the Ukrainian people," Kishida told reporters.

Earlier, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a regular news conference that the head of Zelenskiy's presidential office, Andriy Yermak, had extended an invitation via Tokyo's ambassador to Kyiv for Kishida to visit Ukraine.

Kishida confirmed that he had received the invitation but said nothing had yet been decided.

"I would like to consider it based on various circumstances," he added.

Next week Kishida is set to visit most other G7 member countries in a key diplomatic tour before Japan hosts the annual G7 summit in May in Hiroshima, when Ukraine is expected to be a major topic of discussion.

The other G7 countries are the United States, Canada, Germany, Britain, France and Italy.

Reporting by Kantaro Komiya and Elaine Lies; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Gareth Jones

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