University of Tokyo accepts Ukrainian researchers

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University of Tokyo accepts Ukrainian researchers

The University of Tokyo has accepted two Ukrainian researchers who can no longer work safely in the eastern European country after Russia's invasion, now into its second month.

The university, considered one of the most prestigious in Japan, welcomes the two women as visiting researchers, one of whom has already arrived in the country. They are the first beneficiaries of the relief program created by the university last month to support students and researchers fleeing the war-torn nation.

Iryna Petrychenko has arrived in Japan, while the other researcher has yet to land.

The Japanese government was accepting evacuees as part of a humanitarian assistance program that was offered to those fleeing the war in Ukraine. The university is one of several academic institutions to have joined in that effort.

Petrychenko spoke in fluent Japanese to reporters at the University's Hongo campus in the capital's Bunkyo Ward, saying she is deeply grateful for the kindness shown, as her life has been derailed by the war. She has studied in Japan in the past, a researcher on Eastern studies at Kyiv National Linguistic University. Petrychenko arrived in Japan on March 21 and is now staying in the Tokyo metropolitan government's accommodation.

Masashi Haneda, director of the Tokyo College at the University of Tokyo, expressed his resolve to create an environment in which researchers can settle down and continue their activities. There is a program for emergency relief for those at risk in the wake of the invasion that is open to all students and researchers, regardless of nationality, until March 31, 2023.

Under the scheme, the university will shoulder travel expenses for students and researchers and provide 80,000 yen $620 per month as a living allowance, on top of free accommodation and workspace.

The emergency relief fund is set up by the university to help pay for its efforts and is soliciting donations.