TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will attend a United Nations meeting next week, Tokyo said on Friday, with plans to meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin and reportedly announce support for Syrian refugees.
Abe may creak open his country’s notoriously tight immigration policy by accepting some refugees fleeing fighting in war-torn Syria, local media said.
A four-year war in Syria has killed some 250,000 people and caused about four million people to flee abroad, contributing to Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War II.
Details of Abe’s planned speech at the UN were not immediately available.
Ahead of Abe’s trip to the UN, Japan on Friday announced plans to extend a $4.0-million emergency grant in response to the refugee crisis in Europe.
Japan will give $2.0 million to the UN refugee agency and development program “in support of Syrian refugees and host communities in Lebanon,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“This emergency grant aid is to provide such support as improving self-reliance of Syrian refugees and strengthening local governments,” it added.
Tokyo will also grant an additional $2.0 million mainly to Serbia and Macedonia, where many refugees and migrants pass through on their way to the European Union bloc, it said.
“The world always has various problems, including the issue of Syrian refugees who are going to Europe,” Abe said in a press conference Friday.
“As we are in such a period, I will express Japan’s strong intention to contribute to the world’s peace and prosperity,” he added.