Japan to Suspend Funding to UNRWA over Claims Staff Helped Hamas

Reters File Photo
A truck, marked with United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) logo, crosses into Egypt from Gaza, at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, during a temporary truce between Hamas and Israel, in Rafah, Egypt, November 27, 2023.

The Foreign Ministry announced Sunday that it will suspend additional funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), due to suspicions that several UNRWA employees were involved in the Oct.7 attacks by Hamas in Israel.

About ¥4.9 billion in additional funding for the U.N. agency is included in the supplementary budget for fiscal 2023, which was approved in November, but these funds will be frozen.

In a statement released Sunday, Foreign Ministry press secretary Maki Kobayashi said, “Japan is extremely concerned about the alleged involvement of UNRWA staff members in the terror attack on Israel on October 7 last year.” She added, “Japan has been strongly urging UNRWA to conduct [its] investigation in a prompt and complete manner and to take appropriate measures, including strengthening governance within UNRWA, so that UNRWA can firmly fulfill the role it should play.”

The statement also said, “Japan will continue to make persistent and active diplomatic efforts to improve the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and to calm down the situation as soon as possible by providing support to other international organizations.”

UNRWA said in a statement Friday that it had opened an investigation into the alleged involvement of its employees in the attacks.

The United States, Canada, Australia and other countries have already announced that they will pause their funding for the agency.