Refugees International Japan was formed in 1979 at the end of a decade of turmoil around the world. More than one million people were fleeing the war-ravaged countries of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, triggering an international humanitarian crisis and putting severe strain on the resources of receiving countries.
In response, a number of foreign residents used the 1979 G7 summit in Tokyo as an opportunity to bring the world’s attention to the desperate plight of refugees across South East Asia. Raising funds and sponsorship to buy advertising in local and international press, the group successfully used the media to appeal to visiting heads of state, and the world, for help. By the end of 1979, they had joined up with other individuals in Tokyo who were raising money and collecting supplies for refugees in Thailand, and Refugees International Japan was born.
In the decades since, Refugees International Japan has worked tirelessly on behalf of refugees and displaced persons due to war and conflict. The humanitarian disaster that spurred its creation in 1979 was brought successfully to a close in the late 1990’s with the phasing out of the UNHCR Comprehensive Plan for Action (CPA) in Vietnam. Many other refugee crises have taken its place. From Sudan and Somalia, to Afghanistan and Iraq, to Serbia and Montenegro, conflict has forced many millions to flee their homes and leave behind everything they possess.
Since the founding of Refugees International Japan just over 30 years ago, we have distributed more than US$8million to over 700 refugee projects in 50 countries.