The Nippon Foundation to Double the Number of Ukrainian Evacuees It Supports to 2,000 (1) [2022/08/16]
At a press conference on July 29, 2022, to announce The Nippon Foundation’s decision to double the number of Ukrainian evacuees it supports to 2,000. From left, Executive Director Jumpei Sasakawa of the foundation; Ms. Olena Svidran and her mother, an evacuee, for whom she acts as a guarantor; evacuee Ms. Nataliia Muliavka and her two daughters; and the author.
The Nippon Foundation has decided to double the number of Ukrainian evacuees it supports with humanitarian assistance from the initial 1,000 to 2,000.
This will bring the total amount of assistance the foundation budgeted for Ukrainians coming to Japan to 8.58 billion yen (about $64.4 million), I announced at a press conference on July 29 alongside my son Mr. Jumpei Sasakawa, executive director of the foundation. We were also joined by Ukrainians displaced by the Russian invasion of their homeland.
More than five months after Russia began its offensive in February, over 1,600 Ukrainians have fled to Japan from their war-torn country. Of these, the foundation has received applications for support from 1,321 people as of July 27.
The decision to support twice as many displaced persons was based upon our judgement that the Ukrainian conflict appears likely to continue for some time and that the foundation would receive additional applications for assistance going forward as more Ukrainians were contacting us practically every day about coming to Japan, I told the press conference.
On March 28, The Nippon Foundation announced humanitarian assistance totaling 5.08 billion yen (about $38.1 million) to help Ukrainians displaced by the Russian invasion come to Japan−3.55 billion yen (about $26.6 million) earmarked for their travel and living expenses and 1.53 billion yen (about $11.5 million) for NGOs and other nonprofit organizations working to support their daily lives.
At that time, it was hard to predict exactly how many Ukrainians would ultimately come to Japan, but we were working on the basis of around 1,000 people.
In making the latest decision announced on July 29, we newly earmarked 3.5 billion yen (about $26.3 million)−3 billion yen (about $22.5 million) as living expenses for three years and 500 million yen (about $3.8 million) as one-time furnishing expenses−for an additional 1,000 Ukrainians.
But no extra funds were necessary for travel expenses because the cost of flying from Europe to Japan currently stands at an average 150,000 yen (about $1,100) per person, about half the 300,000 yen per person we set aside in March. This has left enough to cover travel expenses for the additional arrivals.
I also said at the press conference: “While financial assistance is important, it’s not enough on its own. It’s also crucial to follow up on evacuees’ day-to-day lives in Japan.”
We need to build a platform of providing humanitarian assistance that enables evacuees to interact with the foundation regularly to grasp how they feel about living in Japan and consult among themselves on a daily basis.
“Normally, this should probably be a government project, but given The Nippon Foundation’s years of experience in international humanitarian assistance, we will continue to strive to carry out this project,” I said.
(To be continued)
I tell the press conference: “While financial assistance is important, it’s not enough on its own. It’s also crucial to follow up on evacuees’ day-to-day lives in Japan.”
Overview of The Nippon Foundation’s additional assistance for Ukrainian evacuees: