On March 11, 2011, the Japan America Society of Southern California created the 2011 Japan Relief Fund, a disaster relief fund to aid victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake and resulting tsunami waves and radiation crisis.
With the funds that have been generously donated so far, we have committed $750,000 to three nonprofit organizations in Japan - Japanese Red Cross Society, Save the Children Japan, and Seikeijuku Tohoku Earthquake Fund - all on the front lines of relief and recovery work in northeastern Japan.
Additionally, we have committed $30,000 to Living Dreams Japan’s “adopt” Fukushima Aiikuen, a children’s home (orphanage) in Fukushima, Japan. It is home to 91 children, ages two to eighteen, all of whom are affected daily by the nuclear radiation crisis. The funds will support educational programs for the children and will be delivered through Smiles & Dreams: Tohoku Kids Support Project that is managed by Living Dreams Japan.
The Society’s 2011 Japan Relief Fund Committee takes great care and conducts extensive due diligence to research all the possible NPO/NGOs in Japan that can provide both immediate humanitarian relief and long-term recovery of the affected areas in Tohoku. The organizations that have received funds have all been presented for review and a formal vote of approval by the board of directors, which has strictly followed the principles and guidelines of international charity outlined by the IRS and the U.S. Treasury.
As an additional monitoring effort, six months after the earthquake the Society’s president, Douglas Erber, went to Japan to observe the performance of the organizations’ charitable activities in Japan to ensure compliance with expenditure responsibility rules under the tax law (please see the president’s Report from Tohoku). We are pleased to report the four organizations that each received a tranche from the 2011 Japan Relief Fund provided first-hand reports and updates on how the funds have been, and continue to be, used for both immediate relief and long-term recovery in the affected areas.
LIVING DREAMS JAPAN Smiles & Dreams: The Tohoku Kids Project
Living Dreams Japan is a program created under parent non-profit organization, International Educational Association for Children (IEAC). IEAC was founded on September 11, 2001 by Patrick Newell (also co-founder of Tokyo International School in Tokyo, Japan). The mission of Living Dreams Japan is to support children’s homes (orphanages) in Japan to help the children become responsible, confident and empowered young adults. After the March 11, 2011 earthquake, Living Dreams Japan teamed with Smile Kids Japan to create Smiles & Dreams: The Tohoku Kids Project, which works to support children’s homes affected by the triple disasters. Through this project, Living Dreams Japan works to restore basic necessities including clothing, baby supplies and basic medicines, as well as provide the children’s homes with items that will help rebuild a nurturing environment for the children; items such as toys, computers, books and supplies for a variety of hobbies. They also work directly with children’s homes and the government agencies responsible for them to best assess the needs of each and every home affected by the disaster. Furthermore, Living Dreams Japan will connect the children’s homes directly to professional child counseling services and will provide them with a wide range of activities to help improve the children’s’ mental health after the tragedy they’ve endured. Proper counseling along with activities such as trips to theme parks, camping, going to concerts, Yoga and various other types of therapeutic activities will improve children’s outlook on their lives and their future.
Website: English / 日本語
JAPANESE RED CROSS SOCIETY (日本赤十字社)
The Japanese Red Cross Society was founded in 1877 and has an extensive network of branches in cities, towns and villages throughout Japan. Its headquarters is located in Tokyo and local chapters are set up in all 47 prefectures. 15,530,000 individual and 220,000 corporate members belong to JRCS, which operates 92 hospitals and 79 blood centers across Japan. JRCS conducted relief activities for victims in the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake which hit the Kobe area in 1995 as well as the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake. Today, JRCS has a well-organized domestic disaster response system, with 488 response teams throughout the country and 6,844 medical relief personnel. Activities by JRCS volunteers include collection of information, first aid, provision of hot meals, tracing services, transportation and distribution of relief goods, and caring for those who evacuate to shelters. All funds received by JRCS will be transferred to the Distribution Committee, which is formed around the local governments of the disaster-affected prefectures, and the funds will be distributed directly among the affected population. The Imperial Family of Japan traditionally has supported JCRS, with the Empress as Honorary President and other royal family members as Vice-Presidents.
Website: 日本語 | English
SAVE THE CHILDREN JAPAN (セーブ・ザ・チルドレン・ジャパン) Japan Earthquake Tsunami Children in Emergency Fund
Save the Children has been working in Japan for 25 years. In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, Save the Children deployed emergency response teams to assess the needs of children and their families. Multiple child-friendly spaces have been established in evacuation areas where displaced families are staying. Child-friendly spaces provide children with an opportunity to play with other children while freeing up parents to work on the recovery. Additional child-friendly spaces are being established. Donations to the Japan Earthquake Tsunami Children in Emergency Fund will exclusively be used to help provide disaster relief and support for all affected children in Japan. In addition to immediate relief, this fund will help support long-term recovery plans to restore education and child care in communities in Japan ravaged by the disasters.
SEIKEIJUKU TOHOKU EARTHQUAKE FUND (松下政経塾)
Seikeijuku (“The Matsushita Institute of Government and Management”) was established in 1979 as a public nonprofit organization to develop and promote leadership for the 21st century. As a public nonprofit corporation, all contributions to Seikeijuku are tax deductable under Japanese tax law. Seikeijuku established its Tohoku Earthquake Fund with the sole mission of relief and recovery of those affected by the earthquake and tsunami. 100% of funds raised will be directly spent on relief and recovery efforts. The Tohoku Earthquake Fund is managed by the Seikeijuku Secretariat office, which is a separate public nonprofit corporation. It is allocating the fund’s resources to relief efforts not covered by existing large NPO/NGOs, and its Distribution Committee is consulting with the Governor of Miyagi Prefecture, The Honorable Yoshihiro Murai, an alumnus of Seikeijuku. Because Miyagi sustained the most severe damage of the three Northeastern Prefectures, the Seikeijuku Tohoku Earthquake Fund is focusing its relief efforts within Miyagi Prefecture. Seikeijuku will provide transparent and very specific details of how the Tohoku Earthquake Fund is being spent, as well as the effectiveness of its relief and recovery efforts.
Website: 日本語 (Japanese only)