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Ukraine war

Grassroots refugee support grows in Japan amid tough asylum policy

Country accepts less than 1% of applicants, far cry from Canada's over 60%

Refugees interact at a workshop for decorating eggs -- a traditional craft in Ukraine -- in Yokohama in November 2022. (Photo courtesy of YOKE)

TOKYO -- Russia's attack on Ukraine that began nearly a year ago has brought roughly 2,000 evacuees to Japan, spurring local governments and private citizens to take a central role in giving them assistance. 

Right before Christmas last year, the Ukrainian Exchange Cafe Druzi in Yokohama was abuzz with customers conversing over coffee. Druzi, which means "friend" in Ukrainian, has become an invaluable space for Ukrainian evacuees to speak to each other in their native language.

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