Japan’s Self-Defense Forces sent bulletproof vests to Ukraine on Tuesday — a rare move for the country, which must uphold its pacifist post-World War II constitution.
Strict guidelines that ban the transfer of defense supplies from Japan to parties in conflict were updated on Tuesday to allow defense equipment assigned by the defense minister to be given to Ukraine following Russia's invasion, according to a statement from Japan's Defense Ministry.
It's the first time Japan’s defense force has sent bulletproof vests overseas.
The supplies were sent on a Japan Self-Defense Forces plane departing from Komaki Airbase in Aichi prefecture on Tuesday, according to a tweet by the Defense Ministry.
It came after a request from Ukraine's defense minister last Friday.
Japan is also planning to deliver other nonlethal emergency supplies such as food, hygiene products, cameras, power generators, tents and winter clothing to Ukraine, according to the Defense Ministry.
In a news conference Tuesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said it was "critically important" for Japan and its national security to respond firmly with other nations against Russian aggression and provide support to Ukraine.
Japan is not planning to send lethal weapons to Ukraine, Matsuno added.