NEW YORK – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday pledged $100 million in fresh aid during a U.S.-led refugee summit in New York.
Abe made the pledge as some 50 participating countries and international organizations announced an increase of $4.5 billion in total humanitarian funding this year compared with 2015 levels.
Japan’s new aid, to be extended through the World Bank, came a day after Abe, who was attending the first-ever U.N. Summit for Refugees and Migrants, vowed to dole out $2.8 billion in aid for refugees over three years starting this year.
“Japan will unstintingly offer its wealth of experience in humanitarian assistance and human resources development,” Abe told Tuesday’s Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, which was hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama.
“I hereby promise that Japan will continue to provide generous assistance standing by each refugee,” Abe said.
Specifically, the prime minister said Japan will offer education and vocational training this year to about 1 million people affected by conflicts.
He also said that Japan will begin accepting up to 150 Syrian students the country has pledged to host over the next five years.
The project, announced in May, aims to train young Syrians so they can contribute to rebuilding their conflict-hit country, he said.
“If these Syrian students wish to be accompanied by their family or bring their family to Japan, they will be warmly welcomed within Japan’s institutional framework,” he added.
While Japan has been a major donor in helping to deal with an international crisis presented by a record 21.3 million refugees globally, it has taken in only a tiny number of refugees itself.
Abe outlined his country’s aid initiative as world leaders vowed to assist more than 65 million refugees and migrants who have fled conflict and disasters in the largest numbers since World War II.
Many of the refugees come from three war-ravaged countries — Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia.
“I called this summit because this crisis is one of the most urgent tests of our time, our capacity for collective action,” Obama said.
“We have to insist on greater investments in development and education and democratic institutions — the lack of which fuels so much of the instability we see in the world,” he said.
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