Yanukovych attacks Tymoshenko as he prepares to leave for Japan official visit
Ukraine Business Online
President Yanukovych used an interview with Japanese media before his official visit to Japan to strongly criticize Yulia Tymoshenkoâ€™s use of environmental funds from Japan to pay pensions. However, the Japanese seem to take a much less serious view of the matter. One of Japanâ€™s leading newspapers said, â€œTokyo has not shifted its stance that the payment has not been misappropriated.â€
KYIV, Jan. 17, 2011 (UBO) â€“ As a part of the preparations for President Viktor Yanukovychâ€™s official visit to Japan that begins on January 18, the president gave an interview to the top Japanese media representatives in Ukraine.
Along with other matters of mutual interest between the countries, the president spoke in considerable detail about the alleged misdeeds of former Prime Minster Yulia Tymoshenko.
Tymoshenko has been subjected to frequent exhaustive interrogations by the Prosecutor Generalâ€™s office with more scheduled for today with a trial pending. However, one cannot help wonder if what we are dealing with her if not so much illegality as the presidentâ€™s bruised feelings before his Japan visit. Interestingly enough, even the headline for the story on the presidential web site does not suggest illegality, but instead states, â€œUkraine's image does not have to suffer because of former government's carelessness.â€
Yanukovychâ€™s comments when he was asked about the alleged misuse of funds by the Tymoshenko government received under the Kyoto Protocol are recorded on the presidential web site as follows:
"Unfortunately, the previous government has indeed used a part of the received funds for other purposes. Therefore, the new government had a clear task: to return these funds. And despite the ongoing financial crisis, the current government took a tough decision to allocate money from the general fund of the State Budget of Ukraine at the expense of some sensitive items for returning the financial resources received from Japan.
â€œUntil May 20, 2010 our government had done everything for the money to be transferred to the National Environmental Investment Agency. I would like to repeat that we have done that at the expense of other programs. But we had no other choice.
â€œUkraine's image does not have to suffer because of carelessness of the former officials, who managed these funds so irresponsibly."
Japanese officials and media seem to take a much different view
In spite of the sharp rhetoric by President Yanukovych and the apparent embarrassment when Ukraine was asked to investigate the matter, press reports in Japan said that Tokyo has not shifted its stance that the payment, totaling 290 million euro (Â¥31.6 billion), has not been misappropriated.
The Japanese press also noted that former Prime Minister Tymoshenko, who has been accused of ordering the misappropriation, has criticized the probe as politically motivated, a tone echoed by the United States. The Japanese press reports also noted Yanukovychâ€™s claims that the steps being taken against Tymoshenko are in accordance with the country's laws, and his denials of ulterior motives.
The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, the Japanese government entity responsible for the transaction, is set to drop the diversion issue, saying â€œthe Japanese side has not suffered any actual damage and there is no need to take legal action.â€
One has to wonder if perhaps the real bottom line of the attacks on Tymoshenko has something to do with comments attributed to Yanukovych by the Kyodo News Service, which pointed out that in the interview the president â€œexpressed Ukraine's readiness to carry out a new round of emission rights transactions with Japan.â€ There were also some hints that Japan might be asked for additional donations to support the containment dome at Chernobyl.
A busy five days ahead for Yanukovych
The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs says on its web site that the schedule for Yanukovychâ€™s visit, originally Jan. 18-20 Japan from January 18 up to January 21 was, lengthened by one day at the request of Ukraine.
The first two days of the visit will be spent in Tokyo, where the president will meet Emperor Akihito, hold negotiations with Prime Minister Naoto Kan, and meet with the Speaker of House of Representatives and the chairman of the House of Councilors of the parliament, the two houses of Japanâ€™s bicameral legislature.
Yanukovych will deliver a speech in the headquarters of Keidanren Japan Business Federation as a part of the bilateral business forum of leaders of leading corporations of Japan. Two Keidanren delegations previously visited Ukraine.
From Tokyo, Yanukovych will go on to Kyoto and Osaka where on January 19-21 he will hold meetings with local leaders for discussion of possible interaction with regions of Ukraine. While in Kyoto, Yanukovych will deliver a speech to the faculty and students of Kyoto University regarding Ukraineâ€™s domestic and international priorities.
Ukraine â€“ Japan relations good, if somewhat one-sided
Like so many other countries, Ukraine has excellent trade relations with Japan, with the trade balance largely in Japanâ€™s favor. Over the period of its independence, Ukraine has imported billions of dollars of merchandise, primarily automobiles and consumer electronics, with Ukraineâ€™s exports to Japan limited mostly to aluminum and food commodities.
Japan reportedly also assisted Ukrainian educational and cultural institutions financially in the amount of more than $4.3 million in the 1998 till 2009 period. Moreover, Japan provided Ukraine with grants of more than $151.8 million. In one of the more recent and most important projects, Japan has provided most of the financing that is going to expand Ukraineâ€™s largest international airport, Kyiv Boryspil, to meet the needs of the Euro 2012 football championship series.
Yanukovych will be the third Ukrainian president to make official visits to Japan, preceded by Presidents Kuchma and Yushchenko. There is no record of any Japanese government official above the rank of foreign minister having ever officially visited independent Ukraine.
Republished here with the full & complete permission of UBO: http://ukrainebusiness.com.ua/news/1981.html