Media Briefing on Support for Evacuees from UkraineNew support announced for evacuees wishing to return to Ukraine

Ahead of the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, The Nippon Foundation held a media briefing at its head office in Tokyo on February 21 to provide an update on its support for Ukrainians who have evacuated to Japan.

From left: Evacuees from Ukraine Olesandra Godenko and Yuliia Boiarchuk, and The Nippon Foundation Executive Director Jumpei Sasakawa


Jumpei Sasakawa, Executive Director, The Nippon Foundation

Many people have seen their families become scattered, or have older relatives or husbands who have stayed in Ukraine. Some areas are also expected to become relatively safe as the fighting abates. We wondered if that means we should expect the number of people wishing to return to increase. The survey showed that there is a need to provide robust support for people wishing to return to Ukraine, and that is the program we are announcing today. We will provide these people with airfare to Poland and a one-time payment of 300,000 yen to settle their affairs in Japan and start their lives in Ukraine. The 2,000 people to whom we are currently providing support are eligible. We informed them of this program on February 14, and some people are already planning to return in April. We intend to offer this program continuously for one year, and envision roughly 200 of the 2,000 people who are eligible making use of it.

Photo of Jumpei Sasakawa

Yuliia Boiarchuk
Ms. Boiarchuk came to Japan in September 2022 and is living in Katsushika, Tokyo. She wishes to stay in Japan.

Q: What is your life in Japan like today?
A: I attend a Japanese language school and want to improve my Japanese language ability.

Q: What do you want to do in Japan in the future?
A: I want to be a bridge between Ukraine and Japan. I hope that there is something I can do that will benefit both Japan and Ukraine.

Q: Do you intend to stay in Japan for a long time?
A: My husband is originally from Donetsk, and has not seen his family for more than 10 years. He has no place to return to. I hope that we can live together in Japan for as long as possible.

Q: Do you have any issues in your daily life?
A: I am learning Japanese and can understand Japanese culture and people’s way of thinking, but my husband cannot speak Japanese. His not being able to express himself as easily as he can in his native language is our biggest issue.

Photo of Yuliia Boiarchuk

Olesandra Godenko
Ms. Godenko came to Japan in September 2022 and is living in Setsu, Osaka Prefecture. She intends to return to Ukraine.

Q: How has your life in Japan been so far?
A: When I first arrived in Japan in September 2022, I was scared. I was far from home and did not know what was going to happen. Now I am working in a sushi chain restaurant. During my time here, I have been able to make Japanese friends and I have come to like Japan, so I will miss Japan and my friends here when I leave.

Q: Why are you returning to Ukraine?
A: I am returning because my mother is in poor health.

Q: How do you feel about the support program for people returning to Ukraine?
A: I want The Nippon Foundation to know that I am very grateful for their support for people who wish to return.

Q: Who are the people in your video message?
A: They are Ukrainians who evacuated to Japan or who live in Ukraine and are interested in Japanese culture.

Q: What do you want to do when you return to Ukraine?
A: I don’t want to forget what I’ve learned here after I return. I don’t have definite plans but I intend to look for work related to Japan, doing interpreting or translating or working in an embassy.

Photo of Olesandra Godenko

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Public Relations Team
The Nippon Foundation

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