I just can’t … The reality of Japanese society as seen by Ukrainian refugees | NHK | News Up

I just can't ... The reality of Japanese society as seen by Ukrainian refugees

“There is no more support. The rest is my problem …”

Five months after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The number of evacuees who entered Japan exceeded 1,500. Some voices thank you for your generous support.

However, some people live with frustration. A man who evacuated in April told me a story.

table of contents
・ What is the experience of an evacuated man?
・ Introduction of Japanese teaching materials for refugees
・ Learning support for children
・ A list of local government consultation counters

There is also evacuation support

“It was a small town with a coast, cafes and restaurants, good food and beautiful scenery. Missiles started to fall every day in such a peaceful town.”

Anton Mikalkov (29), who is evacuating to Osaka, told me that.

Anton is from Mykolaiv, about 100 kilometers east of Odessa, the largest port city in southern Ukraine, and although it wasn’t usually in a conflict with Russia, things got worse after the Russian invasion.

On March 29, the Mykolaiv State Capitol was attacked by rockets, killing 14 people (as of the end of March).

Anton, who has a chronic illness, was allowed to evacuate abroad and fled to Japan with her mother in April because her sister had lived in Japan for over 15 years.

In Japan, which has been evacuated, a group of Japanese language schools accepted me, and everything went smoothly from finding a house to preparing basic daily necessities.

However, it was the wall of words that stood in the way.

Anton has no experience learning Japanese and cannot read, write or speak.

While taking classes at a Japanese language school on a daily basis, I am gradually learning daily conversations such as greetings and shopping, but it is said that Japanese is still difficult. He answered the interview in English.

Japanese is difficult because it is not similar to English-speaking languages. Since the way of writing sentences is completely different from Ukrainian, you have to assemble the sentences in your head before speaking. Besides, there are many Chinese characters in Japanese, so it is difficult to write.

The neck is still …

It’s been 3 months since I started living in Japan. What was even more deadlocked was “finding a job.”

Originally in Ukraine, Anton learned digital marketing skills and started an advertising agency as a venture.

I usually communicate in English and undertake requests from companies in Europe.

Even in Japan, I repeated interviews with IT-related companies to make use of that skill.

can you speak Japanese?

What was required at the interview was Japanese ability.

After a few months of learning Japanese, I haven’t been able to reach the business level, and so far I haven’t been able to accept requests from Japanese companies.

I gave up the skills I had cultivated and once considered recruiting an English conversation teacher, but I had to decline because I had to work in Tokyo, which is far from my sister’s Osaka.

As the war prolongs, it is unclear whether he will continue to study Japanese and continue to live in Japan, or whether he will use English to move to another European country.

You may find a job if you study Japanese, but it will take some years. You have the option of moving to Europe far away, but that depends on the future situation …

The support side is also frustrated

Anton’s evacuation life is supported by the “Ukrainian Student Support Association,” which is formed by a group of Japanese language schools that mainly accept international students.

The association has accepted 32 young people nationwide so far, and is aiming to accept 100 young people by the end of this year, but it is said that acceptance is a little behind schedule due to the effects of soaring airline tickets. ..

It is said that the Japanese language school actively supports people looking for a job so that people who evacuate later can easily continue.

“Seifu Institute of Information Technology” Hiroshi Fukuhara Vice-Principal
After all, when it comes to acquiring a level of Japanese that can be used at work2-3 yearsNeeds time. I also go to work interviews together, but the current situation is that it is difficult for companies to meet their needs if they don’t understand Japanese …

On top of that, he talked about how to support evacuees as follows.

Overall, there is plenty of support, but the level of support tends to vary depending on where you live. Also, in the unstable war situation, students seem to flash back their hard experiences in the field by watching the news when they are alone, so it is necessary to consider mental care in the long run.

Providing teaching materials that meet your needs

The first language barrier you face in your life in Japan.

To support Japanese language education for foreigners, the Agency for Cultural Affairs added Ukrainian and Russian to the website “Connecting Hirogaru Nihongo no Seikatsu” on June 30th, where you can learn Japanese for free. did.

This is because there were many requests from local governments that accepted evacuees.

In addition, the Agency for Cultural Affairs plays the role of coordinator when a person who has evacuated from Ukraine asks “I want to learn Japanese”.

A Japanese language class held by the local government according to the needs of the counselor and the goal of “what level to aim for” such as “I want to learn face-to-face”, “I want to study every day”, “I want to study on Saturdays and Sundays because I work on weekdays” We will guide you and recommend online courses in areas where there are no classrooms.

A person in charge of the Agency for Cultural Affairs said, “Since the evacuees have come to Japan from the beginning, the foundation of their lives has been improved, and the number of inquiries about” how to learn Japanese “is increasing. I want to make a suggestion. “

In addition, NHK World also produces a Japanese learning site explained in Ukrainian.

Supporting children’s learning

There are also moves to support children who have been deprived of educational opportunities in their homeland.

There is a group that has begun to make videos explaining calculation methods, formulas, etc. in Ukrainian so that children can learn subjects such as math and mathematics without stumbling on the language barrier.

At the “Kyoto University of Education Thinking about Education for Foreign Children”, in order to support the learning of children whose mother tongue is not Japanese, “math” and “mathematics” in five languages ​​such as Portuguese and Japanese I have made a learning video of.

After the military invasion by Russia, we raised funds for the production so that children who had evacuated from Ukraine could learn in their mother tongue, and started to release the Ukrainian version of the video little by little from April.

The translation into Ukrainian is done with the help of international students and Ukrainians who still live in Ukraine.

Remittances also provide financial support to those in difficult situations.

Professor Yasushi Kuroda, Kyoto University of Education
If you can’t speak Japanese, you will naturally be delayed in learning. In order to avoid this, we must provide teaching materials that allow students to study in their native language. It’s hard to get to math and mathematics by learning a new language.

According to Professor Kuroda, for example, Japanese textbooks use brush calculation for addition and subtraction, but Ukrainian textbooks have a calculation style that keeps writing sideways.

In the video, you can also learn how to do long division in Ukrainian.

Professor Kuroda
Even from the teachers of the school using the video, the third grade children from Ukraine could not understand math in the regular class, but using this video, they raise their hands a little in the class. I’ve heard that you can now do things.

Children will shape the future when we think about 10 to 20 years from now, so I think that the country will not rebuild unless we firmly guarantee the academic ability of those children. In that sense, I would like to firmly support you so that learning will not stop.

This time, I hurriedly launched the production of the Ukrainian version and managed to get on track. Therefore, I think there is a possibility that we will be able to provide learning support for children in Myanmar and Afghanistan in a short period of time. I think that the future of children will be determined by education. We really want to think about it as the next stage.

There are windows in each area to support the acceptance of evacuees and troubles.

This April, we released a list of contact points for major local governments nationwide, and this time we will post the updated list again.

I think that there are people who are worried about new evacuation plans, and people who have unexpected troubles in an environment with a different culture and language. If you notice it, I hope that people around you will call out to you.

(Network News Department Akiko Shimizu Soraya Sugimoto Ayari Suzuki)

List of main consultation counters in each region


“Hokkaido Foreigner Counseling Center”
Phone: 011-200-9595
Hours: Weekdays 9:00 to 17:00 (excluding 12:00 to 13:00)
* Ukrainian and Russian support
E-mail: support@hiecc.or.jp

Ibaraki Prefecture

“Ibaraki International Association Foreigner Counseling Center”
Phone: 029-244-3811
Hours: Weekdays 8: 30-17: 00
* Ukrainian and Russian are compatible with translators

Tochigi Prefecture

“Tochigi Foreigner Counseling Support Center”
Phone: 028-627-3399
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 9am to 4pm
* Ukrainian and Russian are supported by a translator

Gunma Prefecture

“Gunma Foreigner Comprehensive Consultation One-Stop Center”
Phone: 027-289-8275
Hours: Weekdays 9 am-5pm
* Ukrainian and Russian are supported by a translator


“Foreigner General Counseling Center Saitama”
Phone: 048-833-3296
Hours: Weekdays 9am to 4pm
* Ukrainian (reservation required) and Russian

Chiba prefecture

“Chiba International Exchange Center”
Phone: 043-297-2966
Hours: Weekdays 9:00 to 16:00 (excluding 12:00 to 13:00)
* Ukrainian (reservation required) and Russian


“Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for Connection Creation”
Phone: 03-6258-1227
Hours: Weekdays 10am to 4pm
* Ukrainian (reservation required) and Russian

Kanagawa Prefecture

“Multilingual Support Center Kanagawa”
Phone: 045-316-2771
Hours: Weekdays 9:00 to 17:15 (excluding 12:00 to 13:00)
* Ukrainian will be available as soon as it is ready

Fukui prefecture

“Fukui Prefecture International Economy Division”
Phone: 0776-20-0752
E-mail: kokusai@pref.fukui.lg.jp

Nagano Prefecture

“Nagano Multicultural Coexistence Counseling Center”
Phone: 026-219-3068
Hours: Weekdays, 1st and 3rd Saturdays from 10am to 6pm (excluding 1st and 3rd Wednesdays)
* Ukrainian language available with telephone interpreter / translator (reservation required)

Gifu Prefecture

“Gifu Prefecture Resident Foreigner Counseling Center”
Phone: 058-263-8066
Hours: Weekdays 9: 30-16: 30
* Ukrainian (reservation required) Russian support

Shizuoka Prefecture

“Shizuoka Prefecture Multicultural Coexistence Division”
Phone: 054-221-2178
Hours: Weekdays 9 am-5pm
Speakable words: Japanese
E-mail: tabunka@pref.shizuoka.lg.jp

Aichi prefecture

“Aichi Multicultural Center”
Phone: 052-961-7902
Hours: Monday-Saturday 10: 00-18: 00 (Closed from 12/29 to 1/3 during the year-end and New Year holidays)
* For visits, the translator supports Ukrainian and Russian.


“Osaka International Foundation (OFIX)”
Phone: 06-6941-2297
Hours: Monday, Friday 9 am-8pm, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 9 am-5:30pm, 2nd and 4th Sunday 13: 00-17: 00
* Ukrainian and Russian support

Hyogo prefecture

“Hyogo Multicultural Symbiosis Comprehensive Consultation Center”
Phone: 078-382-2052
Hours: Weekdays 9 am-5pm
* Ukrainian and Russian support

Tokushima Prefecture

“Tokushima International Strategy Center”
Phone: 088-656-3312 ・ 088-656-3313
Hours: 10: 00-18: 00 (closed from 12/9 to 1/3)
* Ukrainian (reservation required) and Russian
E-mail: topia@topia.ne.jp

Ehime Prefecture

“Ehime Prefecture Foreigner Consultation One-Stop Center”
Phone: 080-4783-5253
Hours: Monday-Saturday 9 am-5pm
* Ukrainian (* Ukrainian interpreter is not resident, supported by the cooperation of residents in the prefecture), Russian
E-mail: sodan@epic.or.jp

Oita Prefecture

“International Policy Division”
Phone: 097-506-2046
Hours: Weekdays 9 am-5pm

Saga Prefecture

“Saga Multicultural Center”
Phone: 0952-22-7830
Hours: Weekdays 9:00 to 16:00 (excluding 12:00 to 13:00)
* Ukrainian (reservation required) and Russian
E-mail: info@spira.or.jp

Nagasaki Prefecture

“Nagasaki International Association”
Phone: 095-820-3377
Hours: Monday-Saturday 9 am-5pm
* Ukrainian (reservation required) and Russian

Kumamoto Prefecture

“Kumamoto Prefecture Foreigner Support Center”
Phone: 080-4275-4489
Hours: Weekdays 8: 30-17: 15
* Ukrainian (reservation required) and Russian

Kagoshima prefecture

“Prefectural Tourism and Culture and Sports Department International Exchange Division”
Phone: 099-286-2303
Hours: 8:30 to 17:15 on the opening day

Ordinance-designated city

Saitama City
“Saitama Tourism International Association International Exchange Center”
Phone: 048-887-1506
Hours: Monday to Saturday 9am to 4pm (closed on public holidays)
* Ukrainian and Russian are available with advance reservation
E-mail: iec@stib.jp

“Chiba City International Association”
Phone: 043-245-5750
Hours: Weekdays 9 am-8pm, Saturdays: 9 am-5pm
* Ukrainian and Russian are supported by automatic translation, etc. (window)

Yokohama City
“Yokohama City Multicultural Coexistence General Counseling Center”
Phone: 045-222-1209
Hours: Weekdays 10: 00-17: 00, 2nd and 4th Saturdays 10: 00-13: 00
* Ukrainian and Russian are being adjusted
E-mail: t-info@yoke.or.jp

Kawasaki City
“Kawasaki City Multicultural Coexistence Comprehensive Consultation One-Stop Center”
Phone: 044-455-8811
Hours: Monday-Saturday 9 am-5pm
* Ukrainian is supported by a translator (window), Russian is supported by a translator / three-party interpreting service (window and telephone)
E-mail: soudan39@kian.or.jp

Sagamihara City
“Sagamihara City International Affairs Division”
Phone: 042-707-1569
Hours: Weekdays 8: 30-17: 15
* Ukrainian and Russian are supported by a translator

Shizuoka City
“Shizuoka City Multicultural Coexistence General Counseling Center”
Phone: 054-273-5931, 054-354-2009
Hours: Weekdays 8: 30-17: 15
* Ukrainian (reservation required) support

Hamamatsu city
“Hamamatsu City Multicultural Center”
Phone: 053-458-2170
Hours: 9 am-5:30pm (as a general rule)
E-mail: info@hi-hice.jp

Nagoya city
“Nagoya International Center Information Service Corner”
Phone: 052-581-0100
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 9: 00-19: 00 (excluding 12: 00-13: 00)

Kyoto City
“Ukraine Kyiv Kyoto Citizens Acceptance Support Network”
Phone: 075-752-3511
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 9am to 9pm
* Even if Ukrainian is available

Osaka City
“Osaka International House”
Phone: 06-6773-6533
Hours: Weekdays 9am to 7pm Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays 9am to 5:30 pm

Sakai City
“Multicultural Exchange Plaza Sakai”
Phone: 072-228-7499
Hours: Weekdays 9 am-17:30am
* Ukrainian is supported by a translator

Kobe City
“Kobe International Community Center”
Phone: 078-742-8705
Hours: Weekdays from 10:00 to 17:00 (excluding 12:00 to 13:00, telephone calls are available from 9:00)

“Kitakyushu International Association”
Phone: 080-6445-2606
Hours: Weekdays 9:30 to 16:00 (excluding holidays and year-end and New Year holidays)
* Ukrainian is available with advance reservation
E-mail: helpdesk@kitaq-koryu.jp

* In addition to the listed local governments, some local governments are currently preparing to set up a window.


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