Japan is debating whether to relax its strict travel warnings for Ukraine to boost corporate investments. A key meeting in Tokyo on Feb. 19 will discuss Ukraine's reconstruction, and it will be attended by Japanese and Ukrainian leaders and 300 business figures.

Japan Considers Easing Travel Restrictions to Ukraine for Investment Opportunities
(Photo : JJ Jordan on Pexels)

Japan Considers Easing Travel Restrictions to Ukraine

Japan is considering making it easier for its citizens to travel to Ukraine. This move aims to help Japanese companies invest more in Ukraine, a country known for its agricultural strengths, industrial zones, and tech-savvy population. Japan's current travel advisory, the strictest level, tells its people to leave Ukraine immediately and not to go there because of the war caused by Russia's invasion.

Last September, Yoshimasa Hayashi, then Foreign Minister of Japan, visited Ukraine with business leaders. This showed Japan's growing interest in Ukraine. Now, Japanese businesses are pushing the government to ease these travel limits. According to The Japan Times, they want to help rebuild Ukraine after the war. South Korea has a similar approach, allowing its businesspeople to visit Ukraine for economic missions.

However, some Japanese officials are worried about their citizens' safety. They are cautious about making travel easier. Yoko Kamikawa, the current Foreign Minister, mentioned at a recent meeting that Japan is focused on supporting Ukraine's rebuilding efforts, involving both the government and private companies.

An important meeting will take place in Tokyo on Feb. 19. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Foreign Minister Kamikawa, and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal will attend. Around 300 business leaders from Japan and Ukraine will join them. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will send a video message. Ambassadors from Poland and Japan's G7 partner countries are also invited.

The Tokyo meeting aims to sign agreements in over 20 areas. These include fixing infrastructure, clearing debris and land mines, and training in agriculture and remote medical services. This gathering is a significant step for Japan's role in Ukraine's reconstruction efforts.

Related Article: Earthquake in Japan Triggers Tsunami Warning and Disrupts Travel: Urgent Updates and Evacuations

Japan's Mt. Fuji Trails to Have New Restrictions for Safety and Crowd Control

The government of Shizuoka, Japan, announced plans on Tuesday to limit access to Mt. Fuji's hiking trails after 4 p.m. this summer. This move, aimed at reducing overcrowding and increasing safety, follows a similar decision by Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan. 

Kyodo News reported that the restrictions are part of a trial to stop dangerous climbing practices, especially "bullet climbing." This risky activity involves climbers trying to reach Japan's highest peak, standing at 3,776 meters, in one attempt without staying overnight.

Shizuoka's three trails - Subashiri, Gotemba, and Fujinomiya - will close in the evenings. Only those who have booked a stay at mountain lodges can use them during these hours. The government is setting aside 52.50 million yen (about $351,000) for this project, which includes creating an online system for booking these lodges.

On Yamanashi's side, a gate at the Yoshida trail's 5th station will limit access between 4 p.m. and 3 a.m., except for lodge guests. Additionally, starting this summer, Yamanashi will limit climbers to 4,000 per day and charge 2,000 yen per person for trail use.

The Yoshida trail, which is more popular and opens earlier than Shizuoka's trails, saw 137,236 climbers last year. In contrast, Shizuoka's Fujinomiya trail had 49,545 visitors. The Subashiri and Gotemba trails had fewer climbers. Shizuoka officials are preparing for possibly more hikers due to Yamanashi's restrictions.

Read Also: New Era for Mount Fuji: Japan Announces Hiking Fee to Safeguard Trail