Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a surprise visit to Kyiv on Tuesday to offer "solidarity and unwavering support," Japan's foreign ministry said.
Kishida is the last G7 leader to visit the war-torn country and has come under increasing pressure to make the trip, as Japan hosts the grouping's summit this May.
He has repeatedly said a visit to Kyiv was "under consideration," though security and logistical challenges were reportedly a major obstacle.
Kishida was in India on Monday and had been expected to return to Tokyo, but instead flew to Poland, where he reportedly boarded a train to cross into Ukraine.
He will express "respect for the courage and perseverance of the Ukrainian people" and offer "the solidarity and unwavering support for Ukraine of Japan and the G7, chaired by Japan," the foreign ministry said.
Kishida is expected to return to Poland for summit talks on Wednesday, the foreign ministry said, before arriving back in Tokyo on Thursday.
News of the trip was first reported by Japanese media, including national broadcaster NHK, whose reporters in Poland filmed a car carrying the premier in the town of Przemysl, from where foreign leaders have often taken the train into Ukraine.
Kishida became the only G7 leader not to have visited Kyiv after US President Joe Biden made a surprise stop to meet Zelensky in February.
But Japanese officials were reportedly worried about the security risks of a trip for Kishida, who becomes the first Japanese prime minister to visit an active warzone since the Second World War.
Last updated: 2023-03-21 HKT 13:11