Japanese Foreign Minister Kamikawa: Govt Set to Resume UNRWA Funding; Announcement Comes After Kamikawa Meets Agency’s Commissioner General in Tokyo

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

The government will lift its suspension of funding for the U.N. Palestine refugee agency in response to the agency’s efforts to strengthen its governance, Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa said Tuesday.

Japan suspended funding to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) following allegations that some of the agency’s staff were involved in the Palestinian militant group Hamas’ attacks on Israel.

Another reason for the resumption of funding is the worsening famine in the Palestinian territory of Gaza.

Kamikawa told reporters at the Diet building on Tuesday morning that the resumption of the funding was an urgent matter.

“The escalating humanitarian situation in Palestine has reached a point where there’s no time to waste,” she said. “It is the responsibility of Japan, which is also a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, to respond to this crisis.”

When she met with UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini in Tokyo on Thursday, she was briefed on measures to prevent a similar issue from happening again. They agreed to expedite final arrangements for the resumption of funding by establishing a framework for joint management and monitoring the project and the flow of funds.

“We also confirmed that we will ensure the appropriateness of the projects funded by Japan by looking at their progress and effectiveness and that Japan will take all necessary measures in the event of any misuse of our funds,” Kamikawa said.