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Japan Defense Ministry uses Ukrainian-derived spelling Kyiv along with Russian Kiev

The Defense Ministry is seen in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward. (Mainichi/Masahiro Ogawa)

TOKYO -- Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi announced a new policy on March 29 to have the Japanese transliteration based on the Ukrainian spelling of the capital Kyiv written down along with the Russian-derived Kiev.

    As the latter is derived from the Russian pronunciation, there have been calls from within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and other parties to change the Japanese transliteration to the one based on the Ukrainian spelling. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, still using the Russian-derived spelling, indicated it will continue to consider the change.

    At a March 29 meeting of the LDP, the Defense Ministry distributed materials with Ukraine's capital written as "Kyiv (Kiev)."

    Kishi explained at a press conference on the same day, "The transliteration Kyiv is becoming used in mainstream media. Considering its position as information being transmitted to the people, we wrote Kyiv together with Kiev."

    However, the law concerning the name, location and salary of Japanese embassies, consulates and permanent missions overseas stipulates that the place where the Embassy of Japan in Ukraine is located is in Kiev. Based on this, regarding the change of the official Japanese spelling of the Ukrainian capital, Kishi said, "We will have to carefully consider it."

    Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said at a March 29 press conference, "We are mulling what spelling and pronunciation should be used, and considering making adjustments with the Ukrainian government."

    (Japanese original by Shu Hatakeyama and Kei Sato, Political News Department)

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