About Us

Refugees International Japan (RIJ) is an independent non-profit organization that funds projects focusing on the health, education and economic livelihoods of people displaced by conflict around the world.

What We Do 

Operating out of Tokyo, RIJ funds projects that restore the dignity of refugees displaced by war and conflict by channeling funding towards sustainable community-led projects implemented by experienced organizations already working with refugees in the field.

The money we raise is used to fund projects that offer counseling, rehabilitation, skills training, and education in order to provide hope for the future and the means for an eventual return to independence.

The maximum grant awarded to an individual project per year is 25,000 dollars. Since 1979, RIJ has funded more than 800 projects worth cumulatively over 11 million dollars.

Who We Support

Refugees International Japan focuses its efforts towards the millions of people around the world that have, as a last resort, been forced into desperate flight in order to save themselves and their families from war, conflict, or persecution. Refugees are among the world’s most vulnerable people, as their basic rights and security are often in danger and they are unable to obtain the protection they need.

In our work, we follow the UNHCR definition of a refugee: someone who "owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country." In addition, RIJ also funds projects that support both returnees and Internally Displaced Peoples. Returnees are refugees who voluntarily return home when the conflict or cause of displacement comes to an end. Internally Displaced Peoples or IDPs are people that meet the UNHCR definition of a refugee but have not left the country of his or her nationality.

Currently war and armed conflict uproots an average of 32,000 people every day worldwide, decimating their lives and entire communities. Globally the number of forcibly displaced people is estimated at 51.2 million, but is more likely to be as high as 60 million; half of whom are under the age of 18 years old. This constitutes one percent of the global population or 50 percent of the population of Japan.

Refugees are people just like you and me. They come from all walks of life. They are doctors, IT graduates, teachers, artists, farmers, business people, academics, students, children and many others. They want what we want: sustenance, shelter, medical care, education for their children and themselves, and most of all, a normal life with dignity and a clearer future. RIJ exists to help refugees reach these aims, which most of us often take for granted.

"It is not the refugee outflows that cause terrorism, it is terrorism, tyranny and war that create refugees." Antonio Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 2005 - 2015

Where We Work

RIJ funds projects all over the world, principally in developing or war-affected countries that have large populations of refugees and IDPs. We work closely with the NGOs and community based organizations whose projects we fund and regularly visit the projects to monitor progress first-hand.

RIJ Values

RIJ operates according to a strict code of accountability and transparency, so that you can see for yourself exactly where, when and how your donation is making a difference. We work only with organizations that have experience and credibility in the field and assess all grant applications against strict funding criteria. Recipients of funds must provide references, audited accounts and written reports. Refugees International Japan will undertake field visits to assess a situation at first hand.

Whilst it is essential to provide the basic needs of life, most importantly, refugees and IDPs need to regain their self-respect in order to overcome despair and trauma so they can build for the future. RIJ aims to achieve this ideal by sponsoring projects globally that create opportunities for refugees to recover and then rediscover or learn new skills.

Our approach to selecting projects emphasizes community and sustainability. Community involvement is essential to ensure that projects effectively address the specific needs of each community in a way that is sustainable and far-reaching. Correspondingly, the emphasis on sustainability ensures that beneficiary communities do not become reliant on funding, but rather develop self-sufficient means of rebuilding the strength within the community.