Aug. 10 - Launching of a Microfinance Program to Support Refugee Entrepreneurs

August 10th, 2010

Japan Association for Refugees (JAR) is launching a microfinance program to support refugee entrepreneurs starting a business in Japan.

About 2,000 asylum seekers have been granted residence status in Japan. The refugee determination in Japan involves a lengthy process and during this period, access to social assistance from the state or to Japanese language training is highly limited. Even after they have passed the grueling process of being recognized as a refugee, most of them do not have access to good employment or good business opportunity in Japan.

Nevertheless, these refugees went through the ordeal of flight and have managed to rebuild their lives in completely new circumstances. Many of them have courage and ideas to overcome obstacles in Japan.

Therefore, JAR, a non-governmental organization providing comprehensive assistance to asylum seekers and refugees, decided to establish a microfinance institution providing loans and other supports for refugees wishing to set up a business.

Through this project, we not only hope to promote better life of refugees and helping each other but also a change in perception among Japanese society so that refugees can be recognized not as a burden but as valuable assets to the society. Moreover, by promoting refugee entrepreneurship, both the integration of refugees in society can be aided and domestic entrepreneurship can be boosted.

Meantime, Social Venture Partners (SVP) Tokyo has agreed to support this new initiative. SVP Tokyo will provide financial supports and other professional supports in the field of finance and business management.

In addition, we are planning to start recruiting investors or donors for this project soon. We are looking forward to the participation of those interested in supporting refugees to start a new life in Japan and in creating a more intercultural and inclusive society.

For more information please contact:
Hiroaki Ishii (Mr.) and Mihoko Kashima (Ms.)
Japan Association for Refugees
Daisan Shikakura Building 6F
1-7-10 Yotsuya, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0004
TEL: 03-5379-6001 FAX: 03-5379-6002

*Your donations to Japan Association for Refugees are tax-deductible.