Japanese-Palestinian relations: support in times of trouble

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A March kite flying event was held in Gaza to express solidarity with the Japanese people affected by the tsunami disaster in 2011.

gaza kites tsunami anniversary

A thousand Palestine refugee students from UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) schools in Gaza gathered to fly kites in commemoration of the disaster that killed thousands of people and caused immense damage. Read on here.

In July people staged a silent protest in Tokyo against the bloodshed in Gaza, the biggest gathering in the Japanese capital since the violence began.

gaza tokyo candles

As night fell demonstrators holding candles formed huge letters spelling “Gaza” in a city park, and offered a one-minute prayer for victims of the violence in the Palestinian territory. Some waved Palestinian flags while others carried signs reading: “Stop the killing in Gaza. Japan cares.” “We want people in Gaza to know that they are not isolated from the world,” said Sonoko Kawakami, one of the organizers. “Gaza is far from Japan, but we are going to continue to do whatever we can do here.”

gaza tokyo candle pattern

Leading members of the Muslim, Christian, Buddhist and Jewish faiths delivered brief messages calling for an end to the violence. Read on here.

In August, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) accepted a contribution of US$ 4.5 million from the Government of Japan which has a tradition of commitment to international humanitarian efforts.

unrwa

The Japanese contribution will support UNRWA’s distribution of daily food rations as well as non-food items such as blankets, mattresses, hygiene kits, and diapers to all IDPs in UNRWA shelters. It will also enable UNRWA health centres to provide quality health care through provision of medicines.

Mr. Junya Matsuura, Ambassador for Palestinian Affairs and Representative to the Palestinian Authority explained that the US$ 4.5 million contribution to UNRWA was part of Japan’s assistance to Palestinians in Gaza affected by the conflict and emphasized that Japan continues to make efforts to achieve a lasting ceasefire in coordination with the international community.

The Government of Japan has been a major UNRWA partner for many years, and has responded generously to support UNRWA programmes throughout the region. As a member of the UNRWA Advisory Commission since 1973, Japan has also provided valued advice and support to the Agency’s Commissioner-General. Read on here.

gaza abbas meets j pm

On Tuesday, 20th January, during a visit to Israel and Palestine, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe announced during that his country would provide $100m. to help reconstruct the Gaza Strip and create job opportunities for Palestinians.

At the joint press conference he added that Japan plans to send experts in March to help the Palestinians establish small businesses and reiterated Japan’s support for the two-state solution, expressing hope that peace would prevail in the region so that people could enjoy prosperity and development.

Mr Abbas told the press conference that Israel had to choose between peace and settlements, and that he is committed to resuming peace talks with Israel “on the basis of the Arab peace initiatives and UN resolutions.”

He thanked Japan for its support for Palestinian refugees over the past few decades and for the 2012 Palestinian statehood bid at the United Nations. Abbas said he had briefed the Japanese prime minister on the latest developments surrounding the peace process and his efforts to seek a UN Security resolution that establishes a timeline for an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines. Read on here.

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