Aichi firm launches service to support displaced Ukrainians in Japan

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Yoshinori Kokenawa speaks about a service his company launched to support displaced Ukrainians in Nisshin, Aichi Prefecture.

NAGOYA — A tech firm involved in disaster prevention initiatives has launched an online service to link displaced Ukrainians in Japan with companies and people offering support.

Kokenawa Inc., an Aichi Prefecture-based firm that has donated portable toilets to Ukraine in the past, launched the free service after learning from an official at the Ukrainian Embassy in Japan that the embassy was struggling to handle all of the offers of support it had received.

Ukrainians seeking help through Kokenawa’s “digital embassy” register their names and upload images of their residence visas. Users can post information about the assistance they need, such as supplies or employment opportunities, and people offering support can post information outlining what they can provide.

Users can log requests and offers in Japanese, English or Ukrainian, and Kokenawa uses the information to connect displaced Ukrainians and benefactors.

Since the service launched on a trial basis in June, about 200 people have sought help and 500 offers of assistance have been logged. Clothing, home appliances, computers and frozen lunch boxes have been donated through the site, which has fulfilled 180 requests.

The Aichi prefectural government used the service to cover the delivery fee of toilet paper a company had donated to 36 households in the prefecture in August, and Kokenawa said other local governments are also considering using the service.

Kokenawa has received positive feedback from displaced Ukrainians who said they were grateful the service allowed them to post information about the kind of support they needed.

Kokenawa President Yoshinori Kokenawa said, “People lose interest over time, so I want the spirit of support to be aggregated in one place.”