September 24, 2013
JICA President Akihiko Tanaka, left, with UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi
On Sept. 12, JICA President Akihiko Tanaka met with Filippo Grandi, commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
UNRWA is providing assistance such as education and health care and social services to Palestinian refugees, while JICA is cooperating with UNRWA in the fields of improving the livelihoods of refugees and infrastructure in refugee camps.
At the beginning, UNRWA Commissioner-General Grandi, who was visiting Japan for the fourth time since assuming office, said, “Every time I come to Japan I feel UNRWA's relationship with JICA is deepening. I would like to continue cooperation not just on capital or technical projects, but also in the form of personnel exchanges.” He also said he had high hopes for JICA's cooperation on Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, where the situation is worsening because of a large influx of Syrian refugees, as well as in the renewable energy sector.
In response, Tanaka said it is important for Japan to make efforts on reducing the burden on the countries neighboring Syria. He also said he would examine what JICA can do to support them.
Grandi then explained the current situation in Syria* in detail. Based on that explanation, Tanaka confirmed continuous cooperation in the Middle East, which is affected by the Syrian crisis.
*Approximately 5 million people have registered in UNRWA as Palestinian refugees. Among them, about 500,000 were staying in Syria at the beginning of the year. Refugees who had fled from the Palestinian territories to Syria are now being displaced again to such neighboring countries as Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey because of the conflict in Syria.