JICA to help Syrian refugee students find work, settle in Japan

JIJI

The government plans to help student-age refugees from civil war-battered Syria, accepted into Japan as exchange students, find jobs and settle in Japan after their courses end, according to sources.

Last May, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Japan would accept up to 150 Syrian refugees as students over the next five years.

For enrollment this September, the Japan International Cooperation Agency picked 20 Syrian refugees from applicants in Lebanon and Jordan with help from the U.N. refugee agency. They are to be admitted into 11 universities, including Keio University, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Hiroshima University and Tokyo University of Agriculture.

Foreign students usually have to leave Japan for two years after completing master’s courses unless they obtain residence status.

The sources said Monday that JICA will help the Syrian refugees not only obtain residence status but find jobs in Japan after they finish their studies. The quasi-governmental organization will ask companies to offer internship opportunities while trying to find firms willing to hire them. Vocational training will be given to the refugees and Japanese-language training to them and their families.

As financial assistance through JICA, the government will provide ¥140,000 per Syrian student per month, ¥13,000 per spouse and ¥6,500 per child.

The sources also said JICA plans to give the students advice on how to get accustomed to life in Japan.

Currently, Japan accepts only a few Syrian refugees each year, drawing international criticism.

With the measures, Japan hopes to make as much of a contribution as possible, a JICA official said.