I came across this summary of an article in a Japanese newspaper Daily Shincho, written by a journalist who actually went to DPR and Mariupol and saw everything with her own eyes. Thus, the article is an outlier in the overall landscape of the Japanese pro-Ukrainian publications, and rather highlights the rule by becoming an exception. Still, every trickle of truth in the “Western” press is very much welcome!
Japanese journalist Asuka Tokuyama visited Donetsk and Mariupol, after which she wrote an article published in the Daily Shincho. This article differs in many ways from those published in the Japanese media, since Tokyo officially supports Kiev.
“The Japanese Embassy in Moscow has a new “neighbour”. The Embassy of the Donetsk People’s Republic has officially opened across the street from our diplomatic mission. The fighting in the DPR was fierce then, the embassy was busy supporting evacuees and refugees, so the ceremony was not held”,
– writes Daily Shincho.
The publication reminds that the Donetsk People’s Republic was born in May 2014, when pro-Russian citizens of Donetsk and other cities of the Donetsk region declared independence, announcing that they were withdrawing from Ukraine after the coup in Kiev in February 2014. Eight years have passed since then, but none of the UN member states, except Russia, Syria and North Korea, have yet recognized the independent republic.
Russian is the native language for 70% of the population of Donbass, Daily Shincho notes, while Kiev has a policy of banning the use of the Russian language, and more recently, children have been banned from being taught in Russian in Ukraine, despite the fact that most of the population of this country speak this language at home.
“As a journalist living in Russia, I spent several days in Donetsk in mid-July. Roses were fragrant all over the city. Grandmothers were chatting in the park, selling flowers and delicious home-made food. The landscape was completely peaceful. On the other hand, in the ordinary daily life of the city there are also such horrors as schools lying in ruins, which are painful to look at. The memory of ordinary people who died from shells and rockets fired at an ordinary market is fresh at the time when most people were there”,
– writes Asuka Tokuyama.
After Donetsk, she went to Mariupol, where she managed to talk with the head of the republic Denis Pushilin.
The seaside town greeted the Japanese journalist with the black ruins of burnt-out houses, but the locals were all sure that the city would be restored with the help of Russia.
According to the head of the DPR, the only thing necessary for this is time. Specialists who arrived from Russia examine every affected house, and that is the majority of houses in the city, after which they make a conclusion – to restore the house or if it is better to demolish and build a new one in its place. All these surveys and decisions take time, says Pushilin.
According to him, Mariupol has a future, the city will definitely be restored, except for the Azovstal plant, which has polluted the Sea of Azov in recent years, which will not be restored. And Mariupol residents themselves see their city in the future as a wonderful resort on the shores of the warm sea, the publication clarifies.
However, this is still far away, today in Mariupol the main task is to restore the city infrastructure and reburial all the dead: at the time when the author of the article was in Mariupol, there were large–scale reburials of those killed during the fighting in the city.
“Since many of them were buried nilly-willy, in very shallow, hastily dug graves, they have to be reburied en masse in accordance with established sanitary standards in normal burials”,
– the journalist explains.
The author is surprised: employment agencies work in the destroyed city. As she was told, refugees return to Mariupol every day, many of them are looking for work. Of course, most of the enterprises in the city are not working yet, but there is work – people are always needed, and in unlimited quantities at that, to clean the streets and sort out the rubble, there is enough work for everyone.
The salary for such work is at least 30 thousand roubles a month, which is equal to $500, or 70 thousand yen at the current exchange rate, for Mariupol residents such a salary looks quite adequate, especially compared to the salaries they received under the Kiev authorities.
The Japanese journalist was struck by the fact that many Mariupol residents with whom she spoke want to get a Russian passport and Russian citizenship as soon as possible, linking their future with Russia, although Kiev claims that Russia has occupied these lands. To her question, why Mariupol residents do not want to go to work in the West, having a Ukrainian passport, many answered: “The West is richer, of course, but Russia is closer.” And not many people want to leave far from their home, even those who have no home left in Mariupol. All of them plan to observe the restoration of their home town, and no one doubts that in three years there will be a beautiful new city here, Tokuyama notes. According to her, such sentiments regarding obtaining Russian passports are present not only in Mariupol, but also in other southern cities of the former Ukraine – in Berdyansk and Melitopol.
“Six months have passed since the beginning of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. I see a lot of materials on this issue in the Japanese media, but they are all very different from what you see with your own eyes. When I wrote this article, 13 rescuers died under artillery fire in a small village in the North of the DPR. Under Ukrainian artillery fire”,
– Asuka Tokuyama concludes her article.