UNHCR chief lauds huge Japanese private donations supporting Ukrainians

The Japan News
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, right, holds a press conference in Tokyo on Wednesday.

Solidarity among Japanese people against the Russian invasion of Ukraine has generated extraordinarily large donations from the private sector in Japan to the United Nations’ refugee agency this year, according to the U.N. refugee chief.

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said at a Wednesday press conference in Tokyo that individuals and approximately 150 companies in Japan have donated a total of about $130 million to the humanitarian agency’s operations so far this year, adding that this almost matches the contributions made by the Japanese government.

“We have witnessed an extraordinary mobilization of private resources in Japan … Much of this mobilization happened around the war in Ukraine and the solidarity that this war generated among the general public,” Grandi said.

“We must now consolidate the support and ensure that it is directed at other operations and other situations in the world,” Grandi added. He said the global number of forcibly displaced people surged to 103 million — the largest figure since World War II — for reasons including conflicts, climate change, violence and violations of human rights that have been taking place in such countries as Syria, Ethiopia, Somalia, Afghanistan and Myanmar.

The humanitarian agency chief also said he truly hopes that the presence of about 2,000 Ukrainian evacuees in Japan and the better understanding of refugee situations would help Japan open up more and that the nation “will become a more [refugee] welcoming country in the future.” He noted that “Japan remains a country which receives very few refugees.”