TOKYO (Kyodo) — The number of people evacuated from Ukraine to Japan since Russia invaded the Eastern European country in late February reached 1,000 on Saturday, immigration authorities said. .
Japan, which traditionally only recognizes around 1% of refugee claims, has so far accepted evacuees from Ukraine under a special measure, without granting them refugee status.
On Saturday, five Ukrainians – men and women aged 17 to 67 – entered Japan, up from 995 three days ago, according to Japan’s Immigration Services Agency.
The government has provided generous support for Ukrainians, including reserving a few seats on a once-a-week commercial flight from Poland for those seeking refuge in Japan.
The government pays daily allowances of up to 2,400 yen ($19) to evacuees who have no relatives or acquaintances to turn to. It also helps them to be accepted by municipalities and businesses.
In addition, the government covers their expenses for medical services and Japanese lessons.
On Friday, at least 6.4 million people have fled Ukraine since February 24, the day Moscow began invading the country, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Japan has often been criticized for its caution in welcoming refugees. According to the latest figure from the Ministry of Justice for 2021, out of 2,413 asylum seekers, 74 people were recognized as refugees under the provisions of Japan’s Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law.
Another 580, compared to 44 the previous year, were allowed to stay in Japan for humanitarian reasons, even if they did not obtain refugee status.