The Japanese government will provide $3-million to aid Syrian refugees who are fleeing the violence and brutal crackdown in their homeland by the security forces of President Bashar al-Assad, according to the foreign ministry in Tokyo.
The money will also be used to help internally displaced persons in Syria.
Cooperating with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR), Japan is planning for the swift distribution of food and sanitary items, the ministry said in a statement.
Japan is attending the “Friends of Syria” peace summit in Tunisia, which is seeking answers to relieve the suffering of the Syrian people and to put an end to Assad’s crackdown which has now lasted almost one year and killed at least 6000 people.
Ironically, Japan has had good relations with Damascus, maintaining friendly diplomatic ties since 1953.
Indeed, the Tokyo foreign ministry stated that up to 2008, Japan has loaned Syria 156.3 billion yen, with grant aid totaling another 27.4 billion yen.
In 2008, Japan exported goods valued at 66.9 billion yen to Syria, and imported 1.5 billion yen in products.
However, Japan now appears to be yielding to western pressure to break any links with Assad.
Earlier this month when Russia and China vetoed a resolution by the United Nations Security Council to condemn Assad, the Tokyo government expressed its disappointment and concern.
”The UN Security Council, which is consisted of responsible members of the international community, was unable to issue a strong and unified message regarding this inhumane and undemocratic situation which is deeply regrettable and brings profound disappointment to those people suffering under the oppression,” the foreign ministry lamented.
“The oppression in Syria continues as before… and the number of casualties is also growing. In order to prevent further bloodshed, Japan urges the Syrian government to halt the violence immediately, and implement the Arab League peace plan promptly and fully. An urgent and unified response by the international community is needed to improve the situation in Syria, and Japan too will continue to make every diplomatic effort possible, in coordination with the international community.”