Her Imperial Highness Crown Princess Akishino visits Reunion Day for students with refugee backgrounds

Her Imperial Highness Crown Princess Akishino visited the JEPN Student Reunion Day held at Sophia University in March 2024. The visit was arranged because of her interest in Pathways Japan’s efforts to bring refugees to Japan through education and employment. On the day of the visit, she observed two activities, Career talk in which students from Ukraine, Syria, and Japan were divided into groups to hear from business people about career development and job hunting, and the Workshop in which students from these three countries thought about making friends. 

Her Imperial Highness listened attentively to the students as they talked about their current challenges and hopes for the future. In the workshop, in particular, she listened intently to the various opinions of the students while they discussed the differences in distance and time required to become friends in their home countries and in Japan. During the final review session, she joined the group of students and asked them directly for their opinions.

In between the two programs, she spoke directly with students with refugee backgrounds in small groups. The students spoke in Japanese about what had happened to them and their families due to conflict and political upheaval in their home countries, why they chose to come to Japan, and how they had mastered the Japanese language after coming to Japan, and how they had succeeded in their pursuit of higher education or employment. Her Imperial Highness spoke to each of the young people who are trying to pave their future in Japan, and was surprised at the great progress the students had made in their Japanese language skills, and wished them well in achieving their goals in Japan.

The event that Her Imperial Highness Crown Princess Akishino visited us this time, taking interest in young people with refugee backgrounds and wishing to speak directly with them, was a very encouraging event for them and for many people with refugee backgrounds living in Japan. 

Looking back, this Reunion Day was a great success thanks to the participation and cooperation of many people, including the host university, Japanese language school, cooperating companies, the students themselves, and Her Imperial Highness Princess . We believe that the students’ daily efforts and dedication to their studies and work as members of Japanese society have been the most important factor in realizing the expansion of activities in society on this scale. Pathways Japan will continue to work together with various people throughout society to support the admission of those people and their self-reliance.