Japan lifts pause in funding for UNRWA, following Canada, Australia

Japanese foreign minister makes the announcement after holding talks last week with UNRWA chief.

a man and a woman shake hands in front of a blue flag
Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa last week met with UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini in Tokyo [Yuichi Yamazaki/AFP]

Japan has announced it will lift its pause on funding to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees.

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa confirmed the resumption of funding to UNRWA with local media after meeting UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini last week.

“Japan will lift the moratorium on its financial contributions to UNRWA and provide assistance while ensuring and confirming the appropriateness of Japan’s funds,” Kamikawa told reporters on Tuesday.

During their meeting in Tokyo, Kamikawa and Lazzarini discussed ways the UN agency could strengthen its transparency and governance.

The European Commission, Canada, Australia, Sweden and Finland have also lifted similar funding pauses in recent weeks.

Japan was one of 16 countries that suspended funding to UNRWA amid Israeli allegations that 12 of the agency’s staff participated in Hamas’s attacks on southern Israel.

Israeli authorities later claimed that more than 450 UNRWA employees are “military operatives in terror groups in Gaza”.

The UN, which has launched an investigation into the claims, has said Israel has not provided it with evidence to support the allegations.

UNRWA, founded in 1949, provides food, healthcare and education to some 5.9 million Palestinian refugees.

Japan is the sixth-biggest donor to the agency, which received funding pledges worth $1.2bn in 2022.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies