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Japan's Key Role in Shaping Global Refugee Policy

By Staff Writer
January 12, 2024
With the number of refugees and internally displaced persons in the world at a record high of over 110 million, Japan is working actively with the international community to ensure that refugees get the humanitarian help they need. To this end, Japan co-convened the 2nd Global Refugee Forum together with other countries in December 2023.

The Global Refugee Forum, launched in 2019 and held in Geneva every four years, is a follow-up meeting to the Global Compact on Refugees, led by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Refugees, host countries, donor countries, international organizations, and others from around the world gather to share their efforts to resolve refugee issues and to present future policy contributions.

The 2nd Global Refugee Forum was co-hosted by UNHCR and Switzerland and co-convened by Japan, Colombia, France, Jordan and Uganda. From Japan, Foreign Minister Kamikawa participated in the conference, as well as Japanese private companies that employ refugees.
National flags at the entrance to the United Nations office in Geneva, Switzerland
At the 2nd Global Refugee Forum, there were more than 1,600 new pledges of financial, material, policy and other forms of support, including 43 costed multi-partner pledges co-led by governments and other partners. These included commitments to:

-       resettle 1 million refugees by 2030 and provide alternative pathways to third countries for 3 million more;
-       provide 1 million hours of pro bono legal and consulting services over four years;
-       offer places on work and educational mobility schemes to 200,000 refugees;
-       support more than 1 million refugees and their hosts through economic and social inclusion initiatives.

Against the backdrop of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and other factors, additional support measures were announced by various countries and organizations at the conference.

Foreign Minister Kamikawa stated, "Young refugees have spent their youth in refugee camps, many of their potentials have been taken away, and their 'human dignity' is under threat. We must unite and do everything in our power to stop the worsening humanitarian situation.”
Volunteers spreading humanitarian help to refugees
Japan in particular expressed its commitment to help children affected by the conflict in Ukraine. "Many children in Ukraine have been deprived of learning opportunities due to Russian aggression," said Foreign Minister Kamikawa, announcing Japan’s intention to contribute approximately $3 million to the Global Fund for Education to support Ukrainian children. Japan has also prepared and distributed free-of-charge Japanese language learning materials to Ukrainian refugees who have come to Japan."
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