Japan to resume funding to UN Palestinian refugee agency

Japan is preparing to resume funding to the U.N.'s crisis-hit Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA), which coordinates nearly all aid to Gaza, the government said.

Once the sixth-largest contributor to the agency, Japan joined more than a dozen countries in pausing funding after Israel claimed that 12 of UNRWA's 13,000 Gaza employees were involved in the deadly Oct. 7 Hamas attack.

Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa met UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini in Tokyo on Thursday to discuss measures taken by the agency to strengthen governance and transparency.

"Japan and the UNRWA confirmed that they will advance final coordination about necessary efforts to resume Japan's contribution," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Japanese media reports said the resumption of funding, which was suspended in January, was expected to come in the first half of April.

The abrupt suspension of funding has threatened UNRWA's efforts to deliver desperately needed aid in Gaza, where the U.N. has warned of an impending famine.

This month, Australia, Canada, Sweden and others said they were resuming aid.

Lazzarini said Tuesday that the agency has enough funds to keep operating until at least the end of May.

Kamikawa on Thursday "pointed out the importance of ensuring transparency and traceability of fund flows and the neutrality of UNRWA staff", the ministry said.

The United Nations has launched both an internal and an independent investigation but has said Israel has not provided it with any evidence to support the claims against its workers.

Continue reading on: