Abe Pledges More Financial Aid to Syria, Still Not Accepting Refugees

In a new development from our recent article about Japan’s financial contributions to the Syrian refugee crisis, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced a pledge to provide a significantly higher amount to the cause; however, he is still not budging on his stance regarding not accepting refugees into the country.

During an address at the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, Abe has confirmed that Japan will provide a total of around $1.6 billion to help displaced Iraqis and Syrians and for working towards peace in Africa and the Middle East. This will take the form of $810 million towards Iraq and Syria’s refugee crises, which as reported by Reuters, is three times the amount Japan provided last year, and another $750 million towards peace building across Africa and the Middle East.

As reported by The Japan Times, Abe also addressed his desire for Japan to become a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, suggesting that he would “carry out its responsibilities in making still greater contributions toward world peace and prosperity.”

However, when questioned about Japan’s stance on whether they will join many European nations in accepting displaced refugees in addition to pledging financial support, Abe remained steadfast with his view that Japan must first focus on improving the conditions of its own people, especially the elderly and women, before accepting any refugees from Syria.

“It is an issue of demography. I would say that before accepting immigrants or refugees, we need to have more activities by women, elderly people and we must raise our birth rate. There are many things that we should do before accepting immigrants.” (Reuters)

As previously reported by Tokyo Weekender, according to Amnesty International, Japan has taken in no Syrian refugees at all; meanwhile, the tally from the Japan Association for Refugees indicates that Japan took in three refugees in 2013.

–Chris Zajko

Image: Reuters – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaking in front of the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly New York on Tuesday.

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