Abe to pledge $10 million in aid for Syria refugees

Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to unveil in a speech at the U.N. General Assembly next week Japan’s plan to provide more than $10 million in additional humanitarian aid to help Syrian refugees, government sources said.

Japan wants to do its part in achieving a peaceful resolution to the Syrian crisis and support a U.S.-Russian agreement that requires Syria to hand over chemical weapons to international control, the sources said Wednesday.

The fresh aid would come on top of around $95 million Japan has already extended to Syria via international organizations and nongovernmental organizations, bringing the total amount to more than $100 million.

In his speech, Abe is expected to call on the Syrian government to act in line with the U.S.-Russian agreement and express Japan’s support for efforts by countries and international organizations to prevent the use of chemical weapons in Syria again, the sources said. Abe is also likely to express Japan’s determination to help stop violence and improve the severe humanitarian situation in Syria, they said.

According to the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, the number of Syrian refugees who have fled to neighboring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey has exceeded 2 million, of whom about 700,000 are 10 years old or younger.

U.N. inspectors have concluded that sarin nerve gas was used on civilians in an Aug. 21 attack that the U.S. government said killed more than 1,400 people.

Syria has decided to accept a deal struck by the United States and Russia to place its chemical weapons under international supervision. Under the deal, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will inspect facilities linked to chemical weapons in Syria.

Abe is likely to say that Tokyo will continue to support OPCW activities. Japan assigns Self-Defense Forces personnel to the Hague-based organization.

Aside from his speech at the U.N., Abe is planning to give two other speeches when he is in the U.S. next week, one on the economy and the other on security, the sources said.

Abe is likely to encourage foreign investors in a meeting on Wall Street to increase investment in Japan now that Tokyo has been selected to host the 2020 Summer Olympics. The administration is pitching the Olympics as a driving force to help end deflation.