20 displaced Ukrainians arrive in Tokyo aboard Japanese government plane

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A government plane carrying 20 displaced Ukrainians arrives at Haneda Airport on Tuesday morning.

A Japanese government plane carrying 20 displaced Ukrainians arrived in Japan from Poland on Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, who had been visiting Poland as a special envoy of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, arrived at Haneda Airport aboard another government plane before their arrival.

Two government planes flew to Poland. The Ukrainians traveled on the reserve aircraft.

The government has been offering support to displaced Ukrainians who have relatives or acquaintances in Japan following Russia’s invasion of its neighbor. However, the 20 Ukrainians who arrived on the government plane included people with no relatives in Japan.

“We will provide necessary support such as living and medical expenses,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters Tuesday morning.

Matsuno announced that Japan would provide Ukraine with $100 million (about ¥12 billion) in additional humanitarian aid for debris removal and clearance of landmines, among other things.

The displaced Ukrainians who arrived on the government plane had responded to a campaign conducted by Japanese diplomatic missions in countries such as Poland. Most of them cannot speak Japanese, according to sources.

They will initially stay at a quarantine facility for three days and then move to government-provided accommodations, where they will be offered free meals, living and medical expenses, and counseling.

The Immigration Services Agency has received hundreds of offers of housing and employment from companies and municipalities. The government, which aims to help displaced Ukrainians take up such offers if they wish to do so, will continue to pay living and medical expenses even if they secure work, earmarking ¥520 million from the reserve fund in the fiscal 2021 budget for related expenses.

In the future, support will be offered to help displaced Ukrainians return to Ukraine or travel to another country. For those who wish to settle in Japan, language lessons and education for children are being considered.

Ten million people have fled Ukraine since the start of the war. As of Saturday, only 393 had traveled to Japan. The Japanese government plans to accept more displaced Ukrainians by boosting efforts at its foreign diplomatic missions.