Japan to send SDF plane to help with Ukraine relief

Japan to send SDF plane to help with Ukraine relief

Japan plans to send a Self-Defense Forces plane to Romania and Poland later this month to help with relief items for Ukrainian refugees, according to government sources.

The mission is expected to last until the end of June, according to the sources.

With the Russian invasion of Ukraine in its second month and some 4 million people fleeing their homes, the sources said the SDF plane will pick up supplies in Dubai and Mumbai, such as blankets and sleeping mats, and transport them to Poland and Romania, where many Ukrainians have sought refuge.

Japan is considering sending a C- 2 transport aircraft of the Air Self-Defense Force, with a plane expected to carry the items once a week from late April for a total of around 10 flights, according to the sources.

According to sources, the dispatch will be decided by the Cabinet next week at the earliest, in response to a request by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

The sources said that the SDF plane will be sent as part of international humanitarian relief operations in line with a law that allows Japanese participation in U.N. peacekeeping operations as well as other operations.

The government decided to donate aid to the U.N. refugee agency, including blankets, earlier this month. The supplies will be sent to Warsaw via a different route than the SDF aircraft set to leave Japan later this month.

In March, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida s government delivered bulletproof vests and helmets to Ukraine via Poland with the use of SDF planes.