• Kyodo

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Thursday that $500 million in fresh assistance for refugees will be provided as part of Japan’s commitment to achieving the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

Funding for the initiative is included in the third supplementary budget for the current fiscal year through March that was approved at a Cabinet meeting earlier Thursday.

To combat the refugee crisis prompted by Syria’s prolonged civil war, Japan will support countries who are absorbing large numbers of refugees via official development assistance, and directly support their ability to become self-reliant.

“Through (these actions), we want to set an example and lead the international community in pursuing a sustainable world through both domestic action and international cooperation,” Abe told a meeting of the government’s task force on SDGs on Thursday.

Japan’s SDGs plan also includes a contribution of around $330 million to Gavi, a global vaccine fund aimed at communicable diseases, and a renewed commitment to promoting women’s empowerment in developing countries.

The SDGs, adopted at a U.N. summit September 2015 to improve development around the world, set numerical targets to be reached by 2030 in 17 fields including poverty, health and education.

Japan has a less than stellar record when it comes to taking in refugees.

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