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October 12, 2017

The first round of participants arrive in Japan under the Japanese Initiative for the future of Syrian Refugees (JISR)

PhotoThe participants receiving the explanation in front of the Cenotaph for A-bomb Victims in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

Nineteen participants have arrived Japan from Jordan and Lebanon in August and September 2017 for the first year of the "Japanese Initiative for the future of Syrian Refugees (JISR[1])." Thirteen family members also came with them. After arriving in Japan, the participants and their families participated in the post arrival orientation at the JICA Chugoku International Center in Higashi-Hiroshima for about three and a half weeks.

In the first week during the orientation, they learned about Japanese lifestyles, traffic rules, disaster prevention, and other important things to know in order to live in Japan. Furthermore, they attended a peace training program by visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima City as well as the Peace Memorial Museum and the Atomic Bomb Dome inside the Park.

Hiroshima City was ruined in a moment by an atomic bomb, and roughly 140,000 persons out of the population of 350,000 at that time were said to die within the year. Moreover, 90% of the buildings in Hiroshima City suffered devastating damage.[2] One of the participants commented "Even though having had a terrible experience, the people of Hiroshima rose up without giving way, and achieved remarkable reconstruction like this after the war. Many towns have become ruined by the civil war in our country Syria now, but the experience of Hiroshima is our hope and very informative in considering the reconstruction of our home country in the future". All of the participants enthusiastically observed the site by listening to the guide's explanation, while associating the restoration of Hiroshima after the war with their hometowns in Syria.

The participants learned basic Japanese for the latter two weeks of the orientation. Japanese classes were not limited to lectures, but they sometimes went out to practice daily conversation by talking with Japanese people. When visiting Miyajima, they ardently asked questions and made conversations using Japanese words that they had just learned.

During the orientation period, the participants uniformly expressed their gratitude to the Government of Japan and the persons involved in JISR, and their pleasure of being able to participate in this JISR Program. Also they stated their determination to do their best for rebuilding and reconstructing Syria by making efforts to be a good example, as the first year participants, for future participants who would be coming to Japan. They expect to deepen their understanding of Japanese unique culture and institutions in addition to the knowledge in specialized fields during their stay in Japan.

After completion of the program, the participants and their families left Hiroshima for starting a new chapter in their life.

(Yoko Iizuka/Japan Development Service Co., Ltd.)

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