Numerous crises around the globe have forced men, women, and children to seek safety and asylum as refugees in foreign lands. Refugees are individuals who have been forced to leave their home country due to political or religious persecution, violence, war, or natural disaster. According to the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Germany are the top three destinations for international migrants in 2017. The same data set reveals that Japan does not even place in the top 25. Despite this low placement, there are organizations in place to aid refugees who do find their way onto the island.
The Japan Association for Refugees (JAR) provides comprehensive aid and critical support for refugees who have fled to Japan. Staff and volunteers begin assisting refugees immediately following their arrival and continue to offer support until refugees are self-supporting. In addition to providing direct support, JAR actively works on advocacy and networking to promote institutional reform and public relations campaigns to raise awareness for their cause.
Recently, I had the pleasure of working with Miyuki Nobu, JAR’s Public Relations Director, at the Japan Association for Refugees’ annual Dan Dan Run charity event. Close to 300 participants ran or walked around the Imperial Palace gardens to raise money for the organization. At the event, I had the opportunity to ask Ms. Nobu about the challenges JAR faces. Her response provided valuable insights into the issues refugees, and those providing them assistance, face in Japan:
“It is extremely difficult to be granted asylum in Japan. Last year, only 20 were recognized [as refugees] while JAR assisted 723 individuals. Plus, there are few public support[ers] while people are waiting for the results of [their] application, which takes [on] average 3 years. It is not rare for people to become homeless right after their arrival, because there is no one they can turn to. Our challenge is to keep fighting for the rights and lives of people seeking asylum in Japan against adversity…raising funds is also a major challenge for us as we receive almost no funds from the government, and we are mostly funded by donations from individuals.”
Though seeking asylum in Japan is an uphill battle, the Japan Association for Refugees will never give up fighting for the rights of refugees in the country. Their tenacity has not gone unrewarded. The JAR team has relocated to a larger space near Suidobashi Station thanks to the generosity of several donors.
JAR is always in of volunteers for various tasks within the organization. If you find yourself with free time on Tuesdays or Thursdays, consider helping JAR between 3:00pm to 6:00pm to help collect food from the Second Harvest’s Akihabara location.
For other volunteer opportunities, connect with the Japan Association for Refugees directly. You can follow the organization on Facebook and YouTube.
Watch this video to see JAR’s staff and volunteers in action!
Recap: Mentoring Moments – Finding Love in Japan
The third and final Mentoring Moments event for the year was held, Sunday, July 8th at the Kiwi Kitchen in Hiroo. Despite the sweltering heat, eight ladies came to ask questions to three FEW members about finding love in Japan and the subsequent situations that stem from cross-cultural dating and married life. Married ladies […]Published on 21st August 2018
Strategic Partner Spotlight: Warm Hearts Coffee Club
The Warm Hearts Coffee Club is a community of coffee lovers based in Japan. Since April of this year we deliver freshly-roasted coffee to households & offices all over Japan & provide a connection between the coffee growers, the coffee’s country of origin and our community members. We do this by supporting organic & fair […]Published on 8th August 2018
Appointment of 2018-2019 FEW Japan Board of Directors
Following approval by the current Board of Directors and majority vote of the regular membership, FEW Japan is delighted to announce the appointment of 15 new and returning members to the FEW Board of Directors for the 2018-2019 FEW year, effective September 1, 2018. These outstanding individuals bring to FEW unique experience, expertise and capabilities as […]Published on 1st August 2018
Recap: June FEW Women’s Start-Up Club – Branding with Archetypes
During the last WSC of this season Marci Kobayashi took us on a journey to “Find your Archetype for your branding”. The overall goal is to “Transform your brand and your overall online presence into a genuine reflection of who you are personally, and professionally, from the inside out, not outside in.” Branding by Archetypes […]Published on 28th July 2018
Rina Bovrisse - The Accidental Activist : From Chanel to Governor of Tokyo?
Join us for the first meeting of the new FEW year to hear from Rina Bovrisse about how she became an accidental activist working in the fashion industry and ending up with a burning desire to get into politics.
Midweek Lunch Mixer
Take a break from work and join us for delicious food and great networking at our monthly midweek lunch gathering, this time at Blu Jam Cafe in Daikanyama!
Note: The Lunch Mixer will take place on a Wednesday!