The government announced a comprehensive aid package Tuesday for Kosovar refugees, featuring $200 million in humanitarian and financial support for international aid bodies, refugee-hosting countries and the future return of the refugees to Kosovo.
Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura reported the aid package to the day’s regular Cabinet meeting, based on reports of the Foreign Ministry’s fact-finding mission dispatched to the region earlier.
Under the new aid package, an additional $25 million will be provided to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other aid bodies, bringing the total financial support to these international aid institutions to $40 million. The UNHCR will also receive 10,000 blankets and 5,000 sleeping mats from Japan, Komura told a news conference.
For Macedonia and Albania, which have taken in an estimated 600,000 Kosovar refugees, Japan will extend $30 million in aid for food production, nonproject grants-in-aid and medical supplies. Another $30 million grant-in-aid will be extended to the two countries over the next two years to meet new needs, Komura said.
To support the return of refugees to Kosovo after a peace agreement is reached and stability is restored, Japan will provide $100 million to international aid funds, including the Fund for Human Security, a U.N. fund initiated by Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, Komura said.
The package, Japan’s second round of Kosovo aid after the $15 million plus 1,000 tents provided earlier to the UNHCR, reflects Japan’s long-term commitment to the issue beyond satisfying the immediate needs of the refugees, a Foreign Ministry official said.