Home Press Release Apparel retailer along with UNHCR mark World Refugee Day in Japan

Apparel retailer along with UNHCR mark World Refugee Day in Japan

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Tokyo, Japan: Fast Retailing Co., Ltd., hosted a media conference in Tokyo to mark World Refugee Day on June 20. In cooperation with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, Koji Yanai, Group Senior Executive Officer, Fast Retailing, detailed company progress and global initiatives to support the world’s refugees and to foster hope and self-reliance for displaced people in their new homes.
In support of these aims, Koji Yanai also unveiled a new initiative with social welfare organization – Support21. Supported by the Fast Retailing Foundation, Support21 will operate an Educational Support Center for Refugees in the inner Tokyo area, serving as a location for refugees in Tokyo to receive guidance and consultation to navigate the daily challenges of building a new life in Japan.
According to latest UNHCR Global Trends Report (released by UNHCR, June 2024), the rise in overall forced displacement had reached 120 million people globally by May 2024. This represents a 12th consecutive annual increase, and a doubling in the past decade. The Educational Support Center for Refugees is a unique new private-sector innovation, that is both a locally tailored initiative, and part of an ongoing Fast Retailing commitment to the refugee crisis globally.
Speaking at the event, Koji Yanai said, “Fast Retailing has been working with UNHCR since 2006 to support refugees and internally displaced persons around the world. Leveraging the resources of our global clothing business, we began by providing clothing aid donations for people displaced by conflict or disaster. We have grown our comprehensive support for refugees, developing programs that promote self-reliance, through education, vocational training, and employment at our stores. The private sector has a major role to play in addressing the problem of the increasing number of displaced people around the world. As a global partner of UNHCR, Fast Retailing will continue to support refugees through further contributions in the future.
*As of May 2024
In a video message to participants at the event, Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said that new figures show that over 120 million people around the world are now displaced by war, violence or persecution, “It is a record number that should have never been broken, a number that risks overshadowing the individuals behind these figures, their stories, their resilience, their power.” Grandi continued, “Fast Retailing is a strong advocate for refugees within the private sector. Through its actions, it has shown its commitment and provided an example of how businesses can play a crucial role in creating pathways for refugees to thrive and to succeed,”

Fast Retailing Group’s Refugee Support Activities:

2001: Donated 12,000 Air Tech jackets to refugees in Afghanistan through an NPO.
2006: Began working with UNHCR, visiting refugee camps and providing clothing support.
2011: Concluded a unique global partnership with UNHCR.
2011: Began hiring refugees at its UNIQLO stores. In addition to 60 people employed at UNIQLO, GU, and other Group companies in Japan as of April 2024, Fast Retailing has been working to hire refugees at UNIQLO stores around the world.
2022: Launched a self-reliance initiative for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. 3.4 million sanitary napkins and shorts were produced and distributed to more than 110,000 refugee women in 14 refugee camps by the end of 2023.
2022: UNIQLO started its PEACE FOR ALL charity T-shirt project. By April 2024 over 4 million T-shirts have been sold, with donations for humanitarian organizations including UNHCR exceeding 1.2 billion yen.
2024: Launched a new initiative with Support21 – through the Fast Retailing Foundation. Support21 will open an Educational Support Center for Refugees in Tokyo.
Fast Retailing will continue its support through initiatives to foster self-reliance for refugees, including education, livelihoods projects, and other training and opportunities.

 

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