Humanitarian Assistance

June 2000

Following the dissolution of the former Soviet Union, the life of Russia's socially vulnerable individuals such as the infirm, orphans, and pensioners has remained difficult as a result of the deterioration of the social security and medical systems during the transition to a free-market economy. To assist these individuals Japan provides humanitarian assistance in a variety of forms. In order to ensure that the appropriate goods reach those individuals who are most in need, assistance is provided after Japan has sent investigative teams of specialists to first study actual local conditions and carefully examined the requests from Russia's central and regional governments.

1. Medical Assistance

Donations of Medicines and Powdered Milk through the Red Cross

Between 1991 and 1995, Japan contributed basic pharmaceutical products, medical supplies and powdered milk for infants to Russia's Far East and Eastern Siberia regions with the assistance of the Japan Red Cross Society.

Donations of Medicines and Powdered Milk    Donations of Medicines and Powdered Milk

Donations of Pharmaceuticals and Medical Equipment

Based upon requests from Russia and field surveys by Japanese specialists, Japan has been supplying basic medical equipment and pharmaceuticals needed for diagnosis and treatment to hospitals throughout Russia, with particular emphasis on the Far East and Siberia regions.

Donations of Pharmaceuticals and Medical Equipment

When Prime Minister Obuchi visited Moscow in November 1998, Japan promised Russian President Boris Yeltsin that Japan would provide medical cooperation with a total value of US$10.0 million. Medical equipment and medicine were delivered to Khabarovsk, Primorsk and Sakhalin regions in September 1999 as the first round of assistance, which contributes to improvement of the level of medical care in these regions. Following this initial assistance Japan implemented the second round of assistance in April 2000 for all of Russia, while continuing to emphasize the Far East region and is planning to provide third grants.

Japan-Russia humanitarian medical cooperation Japan-Russia humanitarian medical cooperation

Assistance for Victims of the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident

Despite the fact that more than 10 years have elapsed, the nuclear accident at Chernobyl in April 1986 continues to seriously effect residents of the stricken regions today. Japan donated US$20.0 million to the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1991 to help provide medical supplies, medicine and medical treatment facilities to the disaster zone. Japan has also dispatched specialists in radiology to the effected area and invited Russian specialists to Japan for training, using its experience in treating victims of radiation sickness in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.In August 1999 Japan also received 30 children who were victims of the accident from the Kaluga, Bryansk and Tula regions. The children were examined and spent two weeks convalescing in various areas in Hokkaido.

Children invited from
the Chernobyl disaster area for treatment
Children invited from the Chernobyl disaster area

2. Monetization of Food

Monetization refers to the process of selling aid materials such as donated food at below-market prices in aid-recipient countries, and using the proceeds to assist socially vulnerable people such as orphans, elderly pensioners and people with infirmities. Japan implemented monetization of food products such as cooking oil, canned meats and canned fruits in areas of Russia including the Far East region in 1993 and 1994. The proceeds from the sales were allocated to regional social welfare projects such as construction of housing for pensioners or the physically challenged, construction of medical facilities, and purchases of medical equipment.

Monetization of food products Monetization of food products
Monetization of food products
Social welfare facility
Social welfare facility
built with proceeds
from food monetization

3. Other Emergency Assistance

Depending upon the circumstances, Japan also provides assistance whenever there is an emergency situation as the result of natural disaster. In June 1998, when the Republic of Sakha (Yakutiya) was hit by flood damage, and again in October of the same year when forest fires ravaged the Sakhalin region, Japan contributed supplies such as wool blankets suitable for use in cold regions. Japan also earned the appreciation of local citizens in Kamchatka by contributing six small-scale diesel generators for emergency use for social welfare facilities such as orphan's homes.

Assistance for Victims of the Northern Sakhalin Earthquake

On May 28, 1995 Neftegorsk, a town with a population of approximately 3,000 in northern Sakhalin, was struck by a massive earthquake that killed 2,608 people. The government of Japan responded by sending emergency humanitarian assistance and supplies to the victims of the earthquake and also brought children who had lost their legs in the disaster to Japan for medical treatment and rehabilitation.

  • Assistance from the Japanese government
    Wool blankets, tents, gas canister stoves and other daily necessities Approximately 30 tons
    Food products such as drinking water and canned foods Approximately 10 tons
    Pharmaceuticals and medical supplies 1 ton
Children hard at work
Children hard at work
Children hard at work Children hard at work
Children hard at work
at their walking exercises
Children returning home Children returning
home after
completion of
their medical

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