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Japan gov't to extend monetary aid for Ukraine evacuees by 6 months

Evacuees from Ukraine arrive at Haneda Airport in Tokyo on April 5, 2022. (Mainichi/Naoaki Hasegawa)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Japanese government is preparing to extend by 180 days its financial aid program to Ukrainian evacuees who have no supporters such as family, friends or guarantors in the country, government sources said Thursday.

    Continuation of the monetary support program, set to complete its first six months in late September, has been up for review as the Russian invasion of Ukraine that started Feb. 24 drags on and evacuees look set to be in Japan for a longer period.

    An official government decision is expected in September, according to the sources.

    The Immigration Services Agency of Japan is the primary body reviewing the response to the coming deadline. On June 28, the Cabinet approved fiscal 2022 budget reserves of around 1.9 billion yen ($14 million) intended for allocation to living support for evacuees.

    Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida initially said Japan would accept Ukrainian evacuees on March 2, and since then evacuees have been coming to Japan, where they are eligible for a specified activities visa that allows them to work and stay for a year.

    Evacuees without family, friends or guarantors in the country can receive national government-provided financial support for daily expenses, while some of those with supporters in the country receive aid from their local government or the philanthropic Nippon Foundation.

    As of Tuesday, Japan has accepted 1,736 Ukrainian evacuees, according to the immigration services agency. Data current to Sunday shows that 152 people have come to Japan with no supporters and are therefore eligible for the financial aid.

    While the agency does not release figures on how many are receiving monetary support, it is likely to exceed 152 people because the government can decide whether to release funds based on individual circumstances, including evacuees who find it increasingly difficult to receive assistance from supporters due to their extending stays.

    The immigration services agency also matches evacuees who have no supporters with local governments and companies willing to take them in.

    Upon moving into accommodation such as dormitories or publicly-managed housing, evacuees aged 12 and over are eligible for 2,400 yen a day -- if they are part of a family the provision drops to 1,600 yen for the second person and up -- and children aged below 12 receive 1,200 yen daily.

    A separate payment for buying necessities, which is awarded before they move to the accommodation provided by companies or local governments, comes to 160,000 yen for evacuees aged 16 and over, and 80,000 yen for those up to 15 years old.

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