Japan promises to 'lead the world' in fighting Russian aggression with $5.5 billion in Ukraine aid

Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida delivers a speech during the opening of the 4th Tokyo Global Dialogue in Tokyo on February 20, 2023.

Tokyo (CNN)Japan pledged $5.5 billion in humanitarian aid to Ukraine on Monday, nearly quadrupling the amount of money Tokyo has promised to Kyiv since Russia invaded its neighbor nearly a year ago.

"Japan is in a position to lead the world's efforts to support Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression and to uphold a free and open international order based on the rule of law," Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Monday.
Tokyo had previously pledged to send Kyiv $600 million in financial assistance and $700 million worth of humanitarian aid including medical supplies and food assistance. It also joined Western allies in imposing strict sanctions on Russia over its invasion.
    Last summer, Kishida said in a speech that Russia's invasion gave warning that "Ukraine today may be East Asia tomorrow" -- and he echoed that language Monday.
      "Russia's aggression against Ukraine is not just a European matter, but a challenge to the rules and principles of the entire international community," he said.
      He added that Japan faces its "most severe" security environment since World War II, citing North Korea's growing nuclear missile program and "attempts to unilaterally change the status quo by force in the East and South China Seas."
      Kishida did not name specifics, but Tokyo has seen itself increasingly at odds with Beijing over islands claimed by both Japan and China in the East China Sea. Meanwhile, Kishida and other Japanese officials have previously said that peace across the Taiwan Strait is of extreme importance to Japan's security.