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2015 UNHCR subregional operations profile - East Asia and the Pacific

| Overview |

UNHCR 2015 East Asia and the Pacific subregional operations map

Mixed flows of urban asylum-seekers and migrants from South-West Asia, the Middle East and Africa continue to be the main protection feature in the subregion.

The central challenge for UNHCR is to assist States in shaping responses that balance concerns for border and migration control with the protection of asylum-seekers' rights.

The organization is pursuing dialogue with all relevant actors to foster regional cooperation rather than unilateral deterrence measures, and avoid people of concern being rejected at the border; to seek alternatives to the detention of asylum-seekers; and to discourage the development of restrictive asylum policies.

In Australia, restrictive policy changes introduced previously were further reinforced by the coalition Government elected in September 2013. The introduction of (regional) offshore processing in Papua New Guinea and Nauru in 2012, with no prospect of durable settlement in Australia, was combined with 'Operation Sovereign Borders' to implement the Government's policy of intercepting and returning boats to Indonesia.

The new Government reduced the humanitarian programme from 20,000 resettlement places in the fiscal year 2012-2013 to 13,750 places in 2014-2015, of which 6,000 are expected to be available for UNHCR-referred refugees. In September 2014, Australia and Cambodia signed a memorandum of understanding for the relocation of recognized refugees from Nauru to Cambodia.

In New Zealand, the overall climate for refugee protection remained positive, with a modest but well-managed resettlement programme and consistent financial support. However, legislation to deter boat arrivals came into force in 2013.

In Papua New Guinea, there have been positive steps toward integrating West Papuan refugees, including the announcement that the citizenship fee will be waived. A clearer legal basis for refugee protection is also being drafted in a new migration act. The Government is taking steps to lift its seven reservations to the 1951 Refugee Convention.

Pacific Island Countries are strengthening collaboration around border management and are gradually accommodating refugee protection into laws, policies and activities, while UNHCR continues to process the small number of asylum-seekers who move into the region. The organization will monitor policy and practice regarding detention in Australia and at the processing centres of Nauru and Papua New Guinea, and advocate for the application of international standards to the treatment of people of concern.

China is becoming a transit and destination country for mixed migration as a result of its geographical and economic importance. The operational environments in mainland China, and the Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions (SARs) continue to be at variance.

In mainland China, following the adoption of the Exit-Entry Administration Law in 2013,UNHCR will advocate that the Chinese authorities assume full responsibility for registration, refugee status determination (RSD) and durable solutions, in line with international standards.

In Hong Kong SAR, China, a unified screening mechanism (USM) to assess claims for protection against refoulement before executing removal orders became operational in March. As a result, UNHCR has ceased its asylum-screening procedures and refocused on providing the authorities with capacity-building assistance and closely monitoring USM implementation.

Macao SAR, China, is implementing refugee legislation through a refugees' commission, in consultation with UNHCR.

In Japan, the Ministry of Justice has established a sub-committee to review the country's asylum system, which is expected to introduce measures to improve the system's fairness and efficiency. UNHCR provides technical advice to the committee and will participate in drawing up the final recommendations. Following completion of a pilot phase, the Government has decided to start a formal resettlement programme in 2015.

Through public information and protection advocacy, UNHCR will pursue strong partnerships and support among decision-makers, non-governmental agencies and the public, to enhance international protection in Japan.

The asylum system in the Republic of Korea is relatively recent. UNHCR is thus helping to build national capacity with executive, judiciary and legislative bodies, as well as with the public and civil society organizations.

The Republic of Korea has recently expressed its willingness to become a resettlement country, a welcome development.

| Response and implementation |

In Australia and New Zealand, UNHCR will monitor decision-making processes, and use diplomatic and public advocacy to focus on preserving the non-discriminatory implementation of asylum, irrespective of how asylum-seekers arrive. The aims are to improve admission to RSD procedures, pursue alternatives to detention and expand the search for durable solutions.

UNHCR will support government efforts towards fair and efficient RSD procedures and consistency in decision-making at different instances.

The Office will monitor the implementation of bilateral arrangements between Australia and Papua New Guinea, and between Australia and Nauru, as well as the memorandum of understanding between Australia and Cambodia.

UNHCR will work to promote further public awareness of asylum and refugee protection issues in Australia and New Zealand, notably greater tolerance and understanding of the dynamics of forced population movements, including by sea.

In Papua New Guinea, UNHCR will facilitate durable solutions for West Papuan refugees, especially local integration, and will support the capacity of government and NGO partners to provide effective protection and assistance to non-Melanesian asylum-seekers and refugees.

Meanwhile States in the Pacific Island Countries, will receive UNHCR support to introduce protection safeguards in immigration procedures and establish and/ or reinforce RSD capacity through training.

In China, UNHCR will continue to balance the direct delivery of protection and assistance services to asylum-seekers and refugees with a move to providing greater advocacy and technical support for central and provincial authorities. The aim is to gradually capacitate the latter to take over responsibility for registration, asylum processing and the realization of durable solutions for those needing international protection.

Together with the Government, the Office will ensure that administrative structures and regulations for the new Exit-Entry Administration Law are in place. In the meantime, UNHCR will continue conducting RSD and providing legal counselling and social and material assistance to the most vulnerable refugees, until durable solutions are identified.

In Hong Kong SAR, China, UNHCR will monitor the unified screening mechanism, provide technical support to the authorities and help find durable solutions. Public awareness will accompany successful fund raising activities.

In Japan, UNHCR's refugee protection activities will support the authorities in refocusing their reception, RSD and local integration mechanisms, including by following up on the recommendations of the sub-committee on asylum.

The organization will undertake a range of awareness-raising activities, including public events such as the Refugee Film Festival with Japan for UNHCR, and external partners. UNHCR will strengthen its strategic partnership with Japan International Cooperation Agency.

In the Republic of Korea, the Office will advocate better access to the asylum system and social services for approximately 6,000 refugees and asylum-seekers. UNHCR will also support the Government's efforts to prepare for a resettlement programme.

The organization will target potential private donors with innovative campaigns, and intensify its contacts with the Korean business community to generate corporate-sector funding.

| Financial information |

In 2015, the overall financial requirements for the East Asia and the Pacific subregion have been set at USD 12.6 million.

In the Pacific, UNHCR has maintained a very modest budget despite the significant protection challenges the organization continues to face in the region.

In mainland China, more direct delivery of protection and assistance to an increasing population of urban refugees and asylum-seekers, as well as increased capacity-building activities, have resulted in higher financial requirements for 2015.

In Japan and the Republic of Korea, financial requirements will remain stable.

UNHCR 2015 budgets for East Asia and the Pacific (USD)
Operation 2014
Revised budget
(as of 30 June 2014)
2015
Refugee
programme
PILLAR 1
Stateless
programme
PILLAR 2
Total
Total 13,786,402 12,204,212 425,746 12,629,958
1. Includes activities in New Zealand, the Pacific Island countries and Papua New Guinea.
Australia Regional Office[1] 2,631,314 1,976,523 0 1,976,523
China 4,734,380 3,951,597 188,448 4,140,045
Japan 4,010,561 3,748,439 68,584 3,817,023
Republic of Korea 2,110,146 1,993,552 168,714 2,162,266
Regional activities 300,000 534,101 0 534,101

Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2015 Update


UNHCR contact information

The UNHCR Representation in Japan
Style of Address The UNHCR Representation in Japan
Street Address Wesley Center 6-10-11, Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, 107-0062 Tokyo, Japan
Mailing Address Wesley Center, 6-10-11, Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, 107-0062 Tokyo, Japan
Telephone 81 33 499 2011
Facsimile 81 33 499 2272
Website http://www.unhcr.or.jp
Email jpnto@unhcr.org
Time Zone GMT + 9
Working Hours
Monday:9:30 - 18:30
Tuesday:9:30 - 18:30
Wednesday:9:30 - 18:30
Thursday:9:30 - 18:30
Friday:9:30 - 18:30
Saturday:
Sunday:
Public Holidays 01 January 2014, New Year's Day
21 March 2014, Vernal equinox
29 April 2014, Showa Day
05 May 2014, Constitution Memorial Day
06 May 2014, Children's day
29 July 2014, Eid Al-Fitr
15 September 2014, Respect of the Aged Day
06 October 2014, Eid Al-Adha
03 November 2014, Culture Day
23 December 2014, Emperor's birthday
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Statistical Snapshot*
* As at January 2014
  1. Country or territory of asylum or residence. In the absence of Government estimates, UNHCR has estimated the refugee population in most industrialized countries based on 10 years of asylum-seekers recognition.
  2. Persons recognized as refugees under the 1951 UN Convention/1967 Protocol, the 1969 OAU Convention, in accordance with the UNHCR Statute, persons granted a complementary form of protection and those granted temporary protection. It also includes persons in a refugee-like situation whose status has not yet been verified.
  3. Persons whose application for asylum or refugee status is pending at any stage in the procedure.
  4. Refugees who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013. Source: Country of origin and asylum.
  5. Persons who are displaced within their country and to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance. It also includes persons who are in an IDP-like situation.
  6. IDPs protected/assisted by UNHCR who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013.
  7. Refers to persons under UNHCR's statelessness mandate.
  8. Persons of concern to UNHCR not included in the previous columns but to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance.
  9. The category of people in a refugee-like situation is descriptive in nature and includes groups of people who are outside their country of origin and who face protection risks similar to those of refugees, but for whom refugee status has, for practical or other reasons, not been ascertained.
The data are generally provided by Governments, based on their own definitions and methods of data collection.
A dash (-) indicates that the value is zero, not available or not applicable.

Source: UNHCR/Governments.
Compiled by: UNHCR, FICSS.
Residing in Japan [1]
Refugees [2]
More info 2,584
Figures are UNHCR estimates.
Asylum Seekers [3]
More info 6,742
Figures are UNHCR estimates.
Returned Refugees [4] 0
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 0
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Stateless Persons [7]
More info 852
Figures are UNHCR estimates.
Various [8] 0
Total Population of Concern 10,178
Originating from Japan [1]
Refugees [2] 157
Asylum Seekers [3] 53
Returned Refugees [4] 0
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 0
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Various [8] 0
Total Population of Concern 210
Government Contributions to UNHCR
2013 Contributions Breakdown
Total contribution in USD: 252,939,102 [rank: 2]
Total contribution in currency: 5,819,172,943 (JPY); 194,996,004 (USD)
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 21,978,366 [rank: 6]
Donor ranking per GDP: 13
Donor ranking per capita: 16
2013 Contributions chart
Contributions since 2000
YearUSD
2014
More info181,612,466
As at 8 December 2014
2013
More info252,939,102
Total contribution in USD: 252,939,102 [rank: 2]
Total contribution in currency: 5,819,172,943 (JPY); 194,996,004 (USD)
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 21,978,366 [rank: 6]
Donor ranking per GDP: 13
Donor ranking per capita: 16
2012
More info185,379,986
Total contribution in USD: 185,379,986 [rank: 2]
Total contribution in currency: 5,164,227,888 (JPY); 120,265,002 (USD)
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 22,441,243 [rank: 6]
Donor ranking per GDP: 17
Donor ranking per capita: 16
2011
More info226,106,644
Total contribution in USD: 226,106,644 [rank: 2]
Total contribution in currency: 5,369,776,785 JPY; 160,012,174 USD
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 19,266,675 [rank: 6]
Donor ranking per GDP: 16
Donor ranking per capita: 15
2010
More info143,494,234
Total contribution in USD: 143,494,234 (rank: 2)
Total contribution in currency: 5,777,202,107 JPY; 80,774,517 USD
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 15,124,133 (rank: 5)
Donor ranking per GDP: 17
Donor ranking per capita: 15
2009
More info110,553,715
Total contribution in USD: 110,553,715 (1) (rank: 3)
Total contribution in currency: 6,158,956,115 JPY; 46,561,293 USD
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 10,692,149 (rank: 11)
Donor ranking per GDP: 20
Donor ranking per capita: 18
(1) Includes USD 91,189 from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
2008
More info110,871,125
Total contribution in USD: 110,871,125 [1] (rank: 3)
Total contribution in currency: 6,458,959,792 (JPY); 46,957,671 (USD)
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 9,000,000 (rank: 12)
Donor ranking per GDP: 17
Donor ranking per capita: 17
[1] Includes USD 120,553 from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
2007
More info89,703,788
Total contribution in USD: 89,703,788 [1] (rank: 2)
Total contribution in currency: 2,009,356,146 (JPY); 71,888,570 (USD)
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 7,132,448 (rank: 11)
Donor ranking per GDP: 21
Donor ranking per capita: 20
[1] Includes USD 132,955 from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
2006
More info75,149,096
Total contribution in USD: 75,149,096 [1] (rank: 3)
Total contribution in currency: 12,563,960 (JPY); 75,035,907 (USD)
Unrestricted contribution (USD): -
Donor ranking per GDP: 17
Donor ranking per capita: 17
[1] Of which, USD 113,189 from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
2005
More info94,518,948
USD 94,518,948 of which USD 3,993,645 (4%) earmarked at the regional level, USD 15,450,000 (16%) earmarked at the subregional level, USD 74,126,716 (79%) earmarked at the country level, USD 177,130 earmarked at the sectoral / thematic level and USD 771,456 (1%) for JPOs.
2004
More info81,751,782
USD 81,751,782 of which USD 4,500,000 (6%) was unrestricted and 77,251,782 (94%) earmarked.
2003
More info90,750,318
USD 90,750,318 of which USD 4,539,655 (5%) was unrestricted and USD 86,210,663 (95%) earmarked.
2002
More info117,969,877
USD 117,969,877 of which 100% earmarked.
2001
More info91,429,313
USD 91,429,313 of which 100% earmarked.
2000
More info100,161,426
USD 100,161,426 of which 100% earmarked.
Private Sector Contributions to UNHCR
Private sector fund raising 2013

Total contribution in USD: 18,702,767
Total contribution in currency: 1,509,933,402 (JPY); 3,227,949 (USD)
Major donorsUSD
Japan Association for UNHCR15,654,433
Tokyo Marathon Foundation135,955
Fuji Optical Co., Ltd100,000
Shinnyo-en Buddhist Order95,000
Others
Fast retailing Co., (UNIQLO)2,867,208
Panasonic Corporation80,000
ADEO Japan29,804

2013 Contributions chart
Contributions since 2006
YearUSD
2014
More info18,063,867
As at 8 December 2014
2013
More info18,702,767

Total contribution in USD: 18,702,767
Total contribution in currency: 1,509,933,402 (JPY); 3,227,949 (USD)
Major donorsUSD
Japan Association for UNHCR15,654,433
Tokyo Marathon Foundation135,955
Fuji Optical Co., Ltd100,000
Shinnyo-en Buddhist Order95,000
Others
Fast retailing Co., (UNIQLO)2,867,208
Panasonic Corporation80,000
ADEO Japan29,804
2012
More info14,284,250

Total contribution in USD: 14,284,250
Total contribution in currency: 977,979,642 (JPY); 2,033,244 (USD)
Major donorsUSD
Japan Association for UNHCR:
Fast retailing Co., Ltd (UNIQLO)391,280
Fuji Optical100,000
Shinnyo-en Buddhist Order95,000
Others:
Fast retailing Co., Ltd (UNIQLO)1,779,237
2011
More info11,457,282

Total contribution in USD: 11,457,282
Total contribution in currency: 712,191,408 (JPY); 1,862,823 (USD)
Major donorsUSD
Fast Retailing Co., Ltd.1,767,838
Tadashi Yanai1,000,000
Tokyo Marathon Foundation173,089
Rissho Kosei-kai Donate A Meal Fund for Peace95,858
Shinnyo-en Buddhist Order95,000
Shunpuukai86,589
Meiji Co., Ltd.83,927
Canon Inc.65,357
Soroptimist International of America, Japan Minami, Nishi, Kita, Chuo and Higashi Regions57,806
Jodo Shu Namu-chan Aid45,783
2010
More info 8,064,669

Total contribution in USD: 8,064,669
Total contribution in currency: 596,736,112 JPY; 1,862,823 USD
Major donorsUSD
Fast Retailing Co., Ltd.558,126
Shinnyo-en Buddhist Order206,585
ICOM183,830
Soroptimist International of America, Japan, Higashi, Nishi, Kita and Chuo Regions105,005
Meiji Seika Kaisha, Ltd.88,213
Mother Food Foundation62,770
Mainichi Newspaper Social Foundation Group71,020
Rissho Kosei-Kai Donate-A-Meal Fund57,927
LaLaport Management Co., Ltd.54,445
Network Chikyumura52,134
2009 6,695,859
2008 5,590,428
2007 2,368,779
2006 2,227,673

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2006 Nansen Refugee Award

All photos courtesy of Fuji Optical Co. Ltd.

The UN refugee agency has named Japanese optometrist Dr. Akio Kanai as the winner of the 2006 Nansen Refugee Award. Dr. Kanai has worked for more than two decades to improve the quality of life of over 100,000 uprooted people around the world by testing their eyes and providing them with spectacles.

Dr. Kanai, himself forcibly displaced from the northern Pacific island of Sakhalin at the end of World War Two, started his humanitarian work in 1983 in Thailand with Indochinese refugees. In 1984, he first worked with UNHCR and has conducted more than 24 missions to help uprooted people in Nepal, Thailand, Azerbaijan and Armenia. He has donated optometry equipment and more than 108,200 pairs of spectacles, made cash grants and trained local medical staff.

Dr Kanai, who is the chairman and chief executive officer of Fuji Optical, has also rallied his family and staff to participate in Fuji Optical's Vision Aid missions. Some 70 employees have taken part, working in refugee camps during their holidays.

2006 Nansen Refugee Award