Nippon Foundation establishes 1 billion yen Ukraine evacuation assistance fund

The Nippon Foundation has set up a fund that aims to raise 1 billion to help Ukrainian evacuees to Japan. Besides providing financial support for daily living, such as scholarships to learn Japanese, the money will be used to give evacuees opportunities to learn about Japan and learn more about the area in which they live by interacting with local residents and participating in community events.

On June 13, the Nippon Foundation announced that it would establish a fund to provide livelihood support to Ukrainians who were evacuees to Japan. The organization is making a large-scale appeal for donations with the goal of raising 1 billion yen. The operational costs of managing the fund will be borne, so all the money donated will be used to support the evacuees.

Some of the specific planned uses of the fund include scholarships for Japanese language studies and the distribution of supplies needed in daily life, such as prepaid smart cards for public transportation. There are additional plans to provide opportunities for evacuees to interact with local residents at festivals, fireworks displays, and sporting events held in each region and to organize events where evacuees can come from their various locations across Japan to meet and learn about each other. At the press conference to announce the fund, Nippon Foundation CEO Sasakawa Junpei expressed the hope that the evacuees will have enjoyable experiences as they settle into life in Japan and take root. He asked everyone in Japan to donate to the fund as a way of expressing their feelings of welcome to people from Ukraine.

Ukrainian Ambassador to Japan Sergei Korsunki asked donors to consider it “an investment in a country that considers Japan an important friend.” In a call for widespread support for the fund, he added that “Ukraine has key agricultural and technical sectors. The people who are currently evacuated to Japan will become a bridge between our two countries.”

US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel (left) and Ukrainian Ambassador Korsunsky (right), who will collaborate on managing the fund.  Sasakawa, CEO of the Nippon Foundation, seated in the middle.
US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel (left) and Ukrainian Ambassador Korsunsky (right), who will collaborate on managing the fund. Sasakawa, CEO of the Nippon Foundation, seated in the middle.

A family of three evacuees from Kharkiv also participated in the press conference. Mark Yellents, 22, was studying in Norway, but returned to Ukraine to join the army. He had to give up because he didn’t meet the conditions. Now he enjoys learning about the history and culture of Japan while studying the language, and speaking of his aspirations, he said, “I would like to do postgraduate studies from school in Japan in the future and want to think about finding a job where I can employ a major.”

His sister, Remma Jelincs Memory (18), was studying design at a university in Poland and still attends remote lectures after being evacuated to Japan. Like her brother, she says, “Once I master the language, I want to transfer to a Japanese university.”

Mark Jellents, who was studying international law in Norway.  He was due to graduate in June.
Mark Jellents, who was studying international law in Norway. He was due to graduate in June.

Online donations, starting at 1,000 JPY, can be made through the Nippon Foundation Ukrainian Displaced Persons Fund web page. Donations are accepted from June 13 until the end of September 2022. For more information, please contact the Partnership Development Division of the Nippon Foundation.

phone: 026-533-0120 (weekdays from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm)

E-mail: kifu@ps.nippon-foundation.or.jp

(Originally written in Japanese. Banner photo: Rima Yelints Memory, front row right, and her mother, Oksana Bella, left. All photos © Nippon.com.)

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