The fathers of five refugee families from Myanmar who have been undergoing language training and living orientation after arriving in Japan under the U.N.-sponsored third-country resettlement program have landed jobs on farms, Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara said Friday.

The fathers of two ethnic Karen families comprising 12 refugees will work farms to grow leaf vegetables and peanuts in Yachimata, Chiba Prefecture, and the fathers of the remaining three families comprising 15 refugees will cultivate shiitake in Suzuka, Mie Prefecture, the Foreign Ministry said.

“I hope that the refugees will be able to live a stable life independently with the support of their local governments, their employers and society,” Maehara said.

The Foreign Ministry refused to reveal other details for privacy reasons.

The three-year pilot program began last fall, under which 90 refugees will be accepted from the Mera refugee camp in Thailand. Japan is the first Asian country to participate in the program.

The government is now in the process of choosing the next 30 candidates who will arrive in Japan this fall.

The five families who came here last fall have been on a six-month training program. According to the Foreign Ministry, the 27 refugees, ranging from adults to young children, have been studying Japanese as well as learning to adjust to daily life in Japan.

The training program will end March 9 and the five families are expected to start their new lives later that month.

“The government will continue to follow up on the lives of the refugees and is prepared to give them advice in various areas,” Maehara said.

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