Japan Uses Demining Experience in Laos to Help Ukraine

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Ukrainian military servicemen walk past a sign which reads 'Caution mines' on the frontline in Donetsk region (Jan 2022, VOA).
Ukrainian military servicemen walk past a sign which reads 'Caution mines' on the frontline in Donetsk region (Jan 2022, VOA).

Japan is using experience gained from clearing mines in Laos and Cambodia to provide assistance to Ukraine.

NHK reports that Japan is helping Ukraine remove landmines and unexploded ordnance by providing training and mine detection equipment.

Many of these ordnances have been left behind in areas occupied by invading Russian forces, according to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Ukrainian authorities say the impacted area is 160,000 square kilometers in size, or about one-quarter of the entire nation, and that for the nation to be rebuilt, the mines must be removed.

The Japanese government will offer assistance through JICA, using know-how accumulated through experience in clearing mines in Cambodia and Laos.

JICA reps train Ukrainian servicemen in Cambodia
JICA reps train Ukrainian servicemen in Cambodia (NHK)

The first training session, which took place in Cambodia from Monday through Friday, included eight members of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine.

JICA also plans to provide Ukraine with four ALIS (Advanced Landmine Imaging System) units, a type of mine detector developed by Japan’s Tohoku University.

Mr. Murotani Ryutaro, Head of JICA’s Office for Peacebuilding, says the number of landmines and unexploded shells is sharply increasing as fighting continues across Ukraine.

He says JICA hopes to tap into its knowhow to efficiently carry out the time-consuming removal work in a way that will not cause harm to local communities.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) says Russia is causing casualties and suffering among civilians in its war against Ukraine by using antipersonnel landmines that have been banned internationally.