TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan, which accepted just 11 asylum seekers out of 5,000 applications last year, will provide approximately $810 million (533 million pounds) in aid in response to refugees fleeing Syria & Iraq, public broadcaster NHK reported on Monday.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was expected to announce the new aid when he addresses the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, NHK said, yet it made no reference to whether Japan would ease its own strict conditions for accepting refugees.
The United Nations said on Friday it could see no easing of the flow of refugees into Europe, with 8,000 arrivals daily, & that problems now facing governments may turn out to be only "the tip of the iceberg".
Japan's foreign ministry last Friday announced it would provide grant aid of $2 million to support Syrian refugees & host communities in Lebanon & another $2 million for West Balkan countries such as Serbia & Macedonia, which are facing an influx of refugees & migrants.
In 2014, Japan accepted 11 asylum seekers out of a record 5,000 applications. Earlier this month, Tokyo announced changes to its refugee system that activists said will make the country even harder to reach for people needing protection.
The United States, the biggest donor of humanitarian aid, recently announced it would provide an additional $419 million, bringing its total humanitarian assistance to over $4.5 billion during the crisis.
But a White House plan to allow an increase of 15,000 per year for the next two years in the number of refugees the country takes in faces stiff opposition from Republican lawmakers who have cited fears approximately terrorism.
(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Linda Sieg & Nick Macfie)