Japan to Resume UNRWA Funding

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa and UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini shakes hands at the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo on Thursday.

Tokyo, March 29 (Jiji Press) — The Japanese government is in the final stage of preparations to resume its funding for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, or UNRWA.

Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa met with UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini in Tokyo on Thursday. She was briefed on measures the U.N. body drew up in response to allegations that some UNRWA staff were involved in the Palestinian military group Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel last October.

Tokyo is expected to make its final decision on the resumption in the first half of April.

“It is important that effective measures are taken to ensure that Japan’s assistance is not used for any terrorist activities,” Kamikawa told Lazzarini.

Kamikawa received explanations about details of the measures and expressed her appreciation. The two officials agreed that final preparations will be made to resume Japan’s UNRWA funding.

Tokyo suspended the funding at the end of January this year in line with similar moves by the United States and European countries. It said it would decide whether to resume the funding after checking measures UNRWA would propose.

Regarding UNRWA, an independent investigation team evaluating the organization’s neutrality has released an interim report. A senior Foreign Ministry official said, “UNRWA has already taken significant measures.”

Among major countries, Canada and Sweden have announced resumption of their funding for UNRWA in order to address the worsening humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip due to serious food shortages.