Japan approves S$504 million in humanitarian aid for Syrian, Iraqi refugees

Syrian refugees sit in front of their tents at the Al Zaatri refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan.
Syrian refugees sit in front of their tents at the Al Zaatri refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan.PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan's Parliament on Wednesday (Jan 20) approved US$350 million (S$504 million) in humanitarian aid and other support for refugees fleeing violence in Syria and Iraq.

The fresh round of aid comes in addition to US$810 million to assist refugees inside and outside Syria and Iraq, which was announced last year.

The US$350 million was included in a supplementary Budget Bill for the current fiscal year ending March that lawmakers approved, a parliamentary spokesman and a Foreign Ministry official said.

The funds are "for the stabilisation of Syria and Iraq", Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said in a policy speech late on Tuesday.

"Japan will devote efforts particularly to humanitarian assistance for those people, such as the provision of food and water and education, and stabilisation of areas liberated from the rule of terrorism," Mr Kishida said.

Japan, which will host the Group of Seven summit this year, plans to take up issues including "terrorism, the Middle East, refugees and internally displaced persons", among others, Mr Kishida said.

The Japanese government "will assist creating societies resilient to radicalisation" and work "to restore a tolerant and stable society in the Middle East", he said, without elaborating.