On the second anniversary of the start of the war in Ukraine: To pave the way to the future for refugees and displaced persons

Two years have passed since the start of the war in Ukraine, marking a period for the people of Ukraine to reconsider their homeland and future. Various events are taking place in Japan and around the world, and new developments are emerging, such as the Japan-Ukraine Conference for Promotion of Economic Growth and Reconstruction led by the Japanese government on February 19. Since March 2022, Pathways Japan, in cooperation with partner Japanese language schools and universities, has admitted 108 young people from Ukraine and provided them with opportunities for Japanese language education, higher education, and support for employment and self-reliance. To date, we have continued to work with each of these young people and provide them with a variety of opportunities to find and realize the career they desire here in Japan.

It has been about a year and a half since their arrival in Japan, and while some students have already entered universities and graduate schools or found employment, others are continuing to improve their Japanese language skills and are making daily efforts to advance their education and job hunting.

The following is an overview of the students’ progress in Japanese language proficiency and career paths (as of February 19, 2024, approximate numbers including those who are preparing for university entrance examinations and job hunting) 

Japanese Language Level

  • After one to one year and half of study at a Japanese language school or university, most students have reached the N3 level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (equivalent to 600 hours of study).
  • A certain number of students have passed the N2 or N1 exam (equivalent to 800-1200 hours of study).
  • Students who had no previous study experience when they arrived in Japan have reached the N4 level (400 hours of study) and are fully capable of daily conversation.


  • About 40 of the students who came to Japan after graduating from high school or while still in undergraduate school were able to go on to a university or vocational school. About 10 students go on to graduate school.


  • Of those who came to Japan with a university degree and wished to find a job, about 10 found employment (IT companies, advertising agencies, media, manufacturers, educational institutions, etc.).

Of the 108 students, only 5 have returned to Ukraine to date due to health, personal career development, or family circumstances, while many others are hoping to find employment and develop their careers in Japan due to the uncertain future in their homeland.

We will continue to work with our partner educational institutions to support each student so that they will not be limited in their life choices due to lack of opportunities and information and find the best path for them.

Also, while there is still no clear path to resolving the war in Ukraine, we are still receiving inquiries from people in Ukraine and temporarily displaced locations who are seeking evacuation in Japan every month, and through the recruitment of students for Japanese Language School Pathways and University Pathways in FY2024, we will admit 10 new young people from abroad to Japan in March of this year. 

Integrating refugees and displaced persons with various experiences into society opens new possibilities for Japanese society and, should they choose to return to their homeland, can serve as a bridge between Japan and Ukraine. Pathways Japan has also held networking events for companies interested in hiring refugees and displaced persons and “job hunting fairs” where students can meet directly with potential employers. Among the participating companies, there is a growing movement toward employment, such as hiring students as interns and holding an information session on employment. These companies have expressed their expectation that these students are “human assets” with diverse experiences and skills, and they can create innovation through enhancing diversity and accelerating international business development. We will continue to provide Japanese language education as a foundation, while also expanding the potential of these students as “human resources” through skills, degrees, and work experience, fostering an environment conducive to their acceptance into companies.

On the other hand, looking over the approximately 2,000 Ukrainian refugees living in Japan, it is clear that many of them face various challenges in learning Japanese and finding full-time employment due to their age, social background, mental health issues, and other factors. It is a critical time for the government, local authorities, businesses, and civil society to work together to help these individuals at various stages in their lives to stay in Japanese society and become independent.

Pathways Japan is committed to further strengthening cooperation with the various parties involved with refugees and displaced persons in Japan, which has extended as a result of the admission of the Ukrainian evacuees, and will work to realize policies and improve systems that encourage admission and self-reliance for these individuals through A whole of society approach. We believe that the various systems and partnerships formed through the admission of Ukrainian evacuees will lead to better admission of refugees and displaced persons from other countries in Japanese society in the future.

Pathways Japan, on the occasion of the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, extends its thoughts to the people of Ukraine, whose lives have been forcibly  changed, and continues to work with partner educational institutions, companies, organizations, supporters, and various societal organizations to help those who have fled to Japan carve out a new future.

Message from Yana, a Ukrainian student:
My life in Japan will soon mark two years. I am thinking about what to do after graduation, but I am very anxious considering the current war situation. I have a desire to return to Ukraine, but honestly I think it will be difficult. But, I am also anxious and find it difficult to find a job in Japan, and I am constantly worried about my future every day. The war has drastically changed the dreams and lives of my family and friends, and I am worried because I feel that the two long years have made many of them more anxious and their thoughts about the future more fragile.
First of all, I would like to actively deepen my own learning in Japan so that I can make the most of this experience for the future.
*Came to Japan in September 2022. Currently in first year of graduate school. She is currently doing an internship at PERSOL CROSS TECHNOLOGY CO.,LTD. with a view to finding a job in Japan.