Japanese companies, organizations and individuals are eagerly lining up to help Ukrainian evacuees who have fled to the country in the wake of Russia’s invasion, with the government having received nearly 900 offers of assistance so far.
As of Thursday, the Immigration Services Agency of Japan said it had received 895 offers of assistance, including help with jobs and housing. Around 400 Ukrainians have sought refuge in Japan since the start of the war.
On Saturday, Japan accepted six Ukrainian evacuees who traveled to the country on a direct commercial flight from Poland. The seats were secured by the Japanese government.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Thursday that the government would secure such seats weekly on direct flights from Poland to Japan for those fleeing from the war-torn country.
Victoria Romashova and her son were among the 20 Ukrainian evacuees who arrived in Japan from Poland aboard a Japanese government plane on Tuesday.
The pair traveled to Suita, Osaka Prefecture, where Romashova’s mother lives with her Japanese husband. The city has provided free housing as well as a washing machine, refrigerator and bed.
Top Sangyo Co., a manufacturer and seller of daily necessities, has provided cooking utensils and towels, while supermarket operator Foods Market Satake has supplied about 10 days’ worth of food. Both companies are based in Suita.
According to the Immigration Services Agency, 420 companies, 175 municipalities and 24 nongovernmental or nonprofit organizations have offered to provide support. Offers from individuals and others totaled 276.
The majority of companies have offered employment opportunities, while individuals have proposed a wide variety of assistance including legal and administrative support and housing.
In Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, Masaru Nishikawa arranged for a Ukrainian woman and her son to be evacuated to Japan on Tuesday’s government flight from Poland.
Nishikawa used to teach tea ceremony in Russia and one of his students later instructed the Ukrainian woman in Kyiv.
He met her in 2020 when she visited Japan to practice the cultural activity and heard from his former student that she had fled to Poland following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and wanted to come to Japan.
“I don’t want them to feel sad or have no place to go. I am just doing what should be done,” said Nishikawa, who asked the Japanese Embassy in Poland to include the two among evacuees to be airlifted to Japan. He was also able to secure housing for the mother and son in Yokohama.
In a meeting with Ukrainian Ambassador to Japan Sergiy Korsunsky earlier last week, education minister Shinsuke Suematsu pledged to provide Japanese-language training for Ukrainian evacuees and support for children who wish to enroll in Japanese schools.
A group of Japanese language schools is also offering help by launching a project to provide language education for free to 100 evacuees from Ukraine at some 30 schools.
The group, called Japanese Supports for Ukrainian Students, has launched a crowdfunding site to cover the travel and living expenses for Ukrainians who wish to come to Japan to join the language project.
Meanwhile, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government was providing temporary accommodation for 17 evacuees from Ukraine as of Tuesday. It has so far secured 100 apartments for this purpose and plans to expand the capacity to 700 if needed.
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