¬© UNHCR  

| Japan flag Japan Making a difference, together.

Japan is one of UNHCR’s largest donors and supporters. 

For many years, consistent funding from the people of Japan has allowed UNHCR to pursue its mandate. Japan’s support for important global initiatives such as the Sustainable Development Goals, the Human Security and the humanitarian-development-peace nexus, unquestionably identifies it as a key supporter of refugees and displaced people. Japan’s dedication to the refugee cause can also be seen in the commitment of Japan to the Junior Professional Officer (JPO) programme. Most recently, Japan has played a key role in the Global Compact on Refugees, paving the way for a future of strengthened cooperation and solidarity with refugees, displaced people, and affected host countries and communities. However, the partnership is steeped in history: former UN High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata, who led UNHCR from 1991 to 2000, was a visionary leader who steered UNHCR through one of the most momentous decades in its history.

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Japan’s financial support to UNHCR has allowed for an effective and efficient response throughout the years, to address acute humanitarian needs, both in emergencies and in protracted situations. Japan has actively promoted the humanitarian-development-peace nexus as a solution for today’s complex humanitarian crises, providing funding support to both UNHCR’s humanitarian projects as well as development projects by among the Japanese development agency, JICA. Japan is a major driving force of the whole-of-society approach and the enhanced roles of host countries and communities under the Global Compact on Refugees. Additionally, Japan was one of the first donors to support UNHCR in the COVID-19 response in 2020 and will remain a major partner in the continuation of the response in 2021. 

‚ÄúEveryone can contribute to fighting COVID-19, including refugees.‚Ä̬†

The training programmes offered in Goma by UNHCR and partners like Japan empower refugees to participate in the fight against COVID-19. Harerimana, a refugee from Rwanda, has received a start-up kit with a sewing machine and fabrics and is now producing face masks to keep her community safe during the emergency response.  

Harerimana, a Rwandan refugee living in Goma, is producing face masks with the help of UNHCR to keep her community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Harerimana, a Rwandan refugee living in Goma, is producing face masks with the help of UNHCR to keep her community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. ¬© UNHCR/Sanne Biesmans  

‚ÄúI developed a kit to help them learn programming from home.‚Ä̬†

Ehab, a Syrian refugee living in Jordan, runs a small company selling smart devices. Ehab was able to attend college and study computer science, supported with monthly financial instalments from UNHCR. Vocational training like this enables refugees to take control of their lives and plan for the future. Japan is an important donor to the Syrian Arab Republic situation and refugee-hosting countries.

A man using a phone and a computer.
¬© UNHCR/Jose Cendon  

‚ÄúPeople are strong. With a little support, they can go on with their lives.‚Ä̬†

Yumiko Takashima is UNHCR’s Head of Office in Aleppo, the Syrian Arab Republic. Yumiko joined UNHCR 20 years ago and has worked in Afghanistan, East Timor, Iran, Sudan, Thailand, Kenya, Uganda, and Japan. Yumiko is one of many Japanese nationals dedicating their lives to supporting refugees and displaced people.

Woman playing with kids in a classroom.
¬© UNHCR/Jose Cendon  

‚ÄúI couldn‚Äôt sew before. I‚Äôm very happy to be part of this.‚Ä̬†

Mushida has been learning how to embroider at a women’s centre in the Kutupalong refugee settlement in Bangladesh. The UNHCR programme she participates in aims to promote self-reliance by training women in craft production and enabling them to go on and sell their products in an established and ethical lifestyle retail store. UNHCR’s response to the Rohingya crisis depends on funding from countries like Japan.

A mother pictured with her child.
¬© UNHCR/Caroline Gluck  

Japan is dedicated to supporting development across Africa, placing a strong emphasis on ensuring that refugees have the tools to become self-reliant.  

Every three years, Japan co-hosts TICAD, the Tokyo International Conference on African Development. Since the inception of TICAD, the Japanese government has involved UNHCR in the dialogue. Solutions are proposed collegially involving governments, civil society organizations, NGOs and the private sector about the issue of displacement in Africa. 

Young girls studying in a classroom.
¬© UNHCR/Tobin Jones  
Total contributions in 2021 to date