Photo/Illutration The Defense Ministry in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Japan will provide Ukraine with drones, along with masks and clothing that protect against chemical weapons, at the war-torn country's request.

Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi announced the decision at an April 19 news conference, where he said the two governments are still in talks over how many will be offered.

Once the Japanese government is ready, it plans to transport them to a country near Ukraine by commercial aircraft, he added.

When asked by reporters whether the provision of drones would violate Japan’s three principles on transfer of defense equipment and technology, which is conducted on a conditional basis, Kishi defended the move as complying with the principles. 

“It would not because they are commercial products,” he said.

He also said the drones and protective gear will be shipped as “disused items.”

Under the Self-Defense Forces Law, disused items by the SDF are permitted to be transferred overseas.

The Defense Ministry said the drones will be used for information-gathering purposes.

Japan has already given Ukraine bulletproof vests from the SDF and other defense equipment.

The latest announcement followed Kishi’s video conference with Oleksiy Reznikov, Ukraine’s defense minister, on April 13, where Reznikov requested additional assistance from Tokyo.