UN agency chief thanks Japanese Premier for supporting refugee work

18 June 2003

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Ruud Lubbers, thanked Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan for his country's strong support for displaced people around the world and the work of the UN agency in assisting them.

Japan is UNHCR's second largest donor country after the United States, contributing nearly $118 million last year alone, according to the agency.

"It was good to meet the Prime Minister because Japan is a leading humanitarian country whose investment in finding durable solutions for refugees contributes greatly to the world's peace and security," Mr. Lubbers said following a 35-minute meeting with Mr. Koizumi in Tokyo.

Mr. Lubbers said he was particularly pleased that Japan's support has continued at a good level even after the departure of his predecessor, former High Commissioner Sadako Ogata, at the end of 2000, with whom he will co-chair a two-day international symposium on refugees in Africa tomorrow and Friday.

The High Commissioner also briefed the Prime Minister on his two-day mission to the Republic of Korea on Sunday and Monday - the first leg of his six-day visit to Asia.


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