A Japanese Resident in Ukraine’s Decision: “Why I Will Continue to Send Information in This Country | FRIDAY DIGITAL

A Japanese Resident in Ukraine’s Decision: “Why I Will Continue to Send Information in This Country

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Kiev Central Station crowded with people evacuating to the west.

The sound of the bombing continues for a while, and when it ends, the city falls silent. Sometimes the sound is quite loud, and I think it is getting closer. The other day, two bombs fell near Kiev’s central station, and they were extremely loud. There are no cars driving and no people walking in Kiev right now.”

Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, has become a ghost town as airstrikes by Russian forces intensify. On the evening of March 8 (Japan Standard Time), Mr. Noriya Takagaki, 56, a 13-year resident of Ukraine who runs an international marriage agency, told us about the situation in the city. He currently lives alone in an apartment about 1 km southwest of Kiev’s central train station, and he provides daily updates on the war-ravaged situation through his YouTube channel, “Ukrainian Information Bureau. He also continues to live-stream every few days to answer questions from viewers.

The Japanese Embassy in Ukraine has already advised him to evacuate, but Mr. Takagaki did not comply. This is because his Ukrainian common-law wife (30) and son (2) are with their family at a nearby family home.

My wife’s father is paralyzed and bedridden, so she is adamant that she wants to stay here,” he said. I recently saw a news report about a child who was killed by debris from a bombing, and I’m really worried that my son might suffer the same fate. I feel the urge to take my son out of the house right now, but he says, ‘Why don’t you just run away? My wife told me that I had to go to the hospital, and we fought.”

Because of this family situation, Mr. Takagaki has been staying in a room in his apartment and continuing to stream videos, and during the live-streaming on August 8, he also talked about his communication with his wife over the evacuation.

The Ukraine Information Service began broadcasting on February 21, three days before the full-scale invasion by the Russian army. The first installment was titled “Interview in Kiev: The Truth about Ukraine! and asked people on the street about the possibility of war breaking out, but in the video, Mr. Takagaki smiled occasionally and showed no signs of tension. On the 24th, the day of the full-scale invasion by the Russian army, he drove to the center of Kiev and showed people the traffic jam of cars evacuating to the suburbs and the inside of the subway station.

However, late at night on the 25th, gunshots rang out.

Mr. Takagaki filmed outdoors from his apartment and relayed the tension of the situation live.

There is a terrible sound,” he said. Oh my God, this. Wow. There is an army school nearby. I wonder if that was targeted. I just saw what looked like a rocket flying overhead.

Streaks of light streaked across the night sky.

At midnight on the 26th, sirens sounded in the city.

The sirens began to sound. There is a great smell of smoke. It smells like a fire. Oh no, this is really bad. What’s wrong with this? I can’t sleep through this.

Takagaki’s voice was tinged with impatience and anxiety as he explained in his Kansai dialect. Three hours later, just before 3:00 a.m., the explosion roared overhead. The night sky glowed red as the sound of “boom” echoed through the air.

It was right across the apartment building directly in front of us. The sound is very close. It’s glowing on the other side. It looks like it’s coming very close.

The city’s appearance changed drastically.

Restaurants were closed, lines formed at bank ATMs, and supermarkets were bought up. Mr. Takagaki also reported that he ran out of food and had to make do with cup noodles.

He said, “We can’t even get all of our food delivered by Uber Eats. Our manager bought water, but there is no food. Sheesh.”

By this time, the smile had faded from Mr. Takagaki’s face. His expression even showed fatigue. With each passing day, the Russian army built a siege network, and was gradually closing in on Kiev.

People gathered at the train station with large bags for evacuation.
Kiev train station crowded with evacuees

In the early morning of the 28th, Mr. Takagaki went to the center of Kiev, a five-minute drive from his apartment, and found that high-rise buildings had been cruelly destroyed and the ground was strewn with debris. The windows of cars parked in the vicinity were broken and bullet-riddled with battered holes. Many people evacuated from Kiev to the suburbs, but Mr. Takagaki made the decision to stay behind , saying, “I have my wife with me, so I can’t just run away.

A week later, people disappeared from Kiev. This is shown in the video distributed on March 5. Mr. Takagaki drives through the center of the city and says to the viewers

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is the center of the city, but there is no one here. There is no one here.

Cars are darting along in the oncoming lane, but there are no pedestrians. The quiet streets of the city spread out from the windows of the car. On the other hand, Kiev’s central station was crowded with people heading west.

Mr. Takagaki has been unable to work and his income has been almost completely cut off. Thanks to the video streaming, he was able to collect about 200,000 yen in donations, but he also has to pay $800 in rent for his apartment, so he plans to use his savings to pay off the rent. He is going to have to use his savings to pay his apartment rent.

If this happens, I will continue to distribute videos until the end. I want people to understand the reality of the Russian military and that war must be stopped. I hope that even one more person will watch my videos and say they are against the war.

Many viewers of the video have expressed concern for his safety, but Mr. Takagaki is more worried about his wife and son than his own life.

Mr. Takagaki continues to shoot in Kiev, which has become a ghost town.
A view of the bombed-out city of Kiev
A view of the bombed-out city of Kiev
  • Interview and text Takehide Mizutani Photo Courtesy of Mr. Takagaki

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