Japan announces major support for refugees from Syria, Iraq

Japan announces major boost in support for refugees fleeing from war in Syria, Iraq

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addresses attendees during the 70th session of United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations in Manhattan, New York on September 29, 2015

Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe declared on Tuesday at the United Nations General Assembly that his country would boost its assistance for refugees displaced from Syria and Iraq due to conflict and would strive to bring peace across the Middle East and Africa.

Shinzo Abe said Japan would provide $810 million, which is three times the amount provided last year, to support the refugees who fled Syria and Iraq because of conflict and an additional $750 million for stabilization efforts in the Middle East and Africa.

"Let us together take on whatever challenges may arise, under the United Nations. And let each member state bring to this struggle its own particular capabilities. Japan has a history of supporting nation-building in a variety of places," Abe said.

In addition to that assistance, Japan will provide $2 million to Lebanon and $2,5 million for humanitarian aid to countries around the European Union which are dealing with an influx of refugees, such as Serbia an Macedonia.

“In Lebanon, we will implement $2 million in new assistance measures… to impart momentum for the collaboration between humanitarian actors and development actors,” Abe said.

“We will newly implement approximately $2.5 million in humanitarian assistance for countries neighbouring the European Union that are grappling with the acceptance of refugees and migrants.” Abe added.

Japan only accepted 11 out of 5,000 asylum seeker applications last year, Abe balked at the idea of taking in more refugees and said, "As an issue of demography, I would say that before accepting immigrants or refugees, we need to have more activities by women, by elderly people and we must raise the birthrate. There are many things that we should do before accepting immigrants." 

"Japan would like to contribute by changing the conditions that give rise to refugees." He added.

The population of Japan is currently 126 million and Abe said he was determined to stabilize the Japanese population at 100 million within 50 years.

Japanese officials said the refugee assistance would be channeled through the United Nations Refugee Agency and the United Nations Development Agency. 

"I wish to look squarely at the fact that behind the refugees we find a much larger number of people who are unable even to flee and become refugees," Abe said.

TRTWorld and agencies