This winter, please support the survival of refugees who have fled to Japan

Last year, 580 refugees visited JAR's office in Yotsuya, Tokyo, seeking help. Every year, people face the greatest need during this season. Government assistance for asylum seekers who have fled to Japan is extremely weak, and the situations they face are harsh whatever the season, but it gets harsher still when the winter cold sets in.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides financial livelihood assistance to asylum seekers who face destitution, but it takes approximately two to three months for results to come out after application. During that time, there is no official help, and asylum seekers must live on money they have managed to bring from their homelands or borrow what they can. Yet many arrive in Japan through pure chance, just because "Japan was the first country that issued them a visa as they sought a place to escape to." Many have no one they know in Japan, and don't know where to turn for help. By the time they finally reach JAR after hearing about the organization, it's not rare for asylum seekers to have gone hungry for a while, and possess less than 100 yen. JAR provides light meals, emergency support money and temporary shelter so that they can stay alive, but the support it can give is limited. The shelter especially is constantly packed, and people suffer through being homeless as they wait their turn.

JAR distributes coats and sleeping bags for people who are waiting for a space to open up at the shelter, but there are those who walk through the night to keep themselves warm and come into the office during the day to take naps because "it's too cold to keep still". Some get so disheartened that they fall ill, as they face severe hardships without a clear future, and JAR's staff also try to provide emotional support so they can survive through the winter. Through your donations, JAR is able to continue to provide emergency assistance to asylum seekers, providing places to stay for a few days for those who fall ill in the winter cold, transportation fees for those trying to get to the JAR office to seek help, or minimum amounts of money for food. We ask for your support so that asylum seekers who have fled to Japan can safely make it through to spring.