KCET to Air Pledge Drive for Japan Relief May 24

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NHK World TV Anchorman Gene Otani to appear in pre-taped interview about covering disasters.

KCET will air a special live pledge drive to benefit Japan* in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the northeastern region.

The three-hour pledge drive will air live Tuesday, May 24, from 8 to 11 p.m. on KCET and feature special guests from the Japanese American community, including actor George Takei and the U.S.-Japan Council’s Bryan Takeda, among others.

KCET is working with the U.S.-Japan Council to disburse money raised during the pledge to a variety of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) in Japan, including the Japan Platform and the Center for Public Resource Development. KCET will donate 100 percent  of money raised to the relief effort.

During the drive, KCET will rebroadcast special segments from Japanese network NHK World that feature its coverage of the disasters. Also, KCET will air an exclusive pre-taped interview with Gene Otani, the lead anchor for “Newsline,” NHK’s weeknight English-language newscast. Taped previously at KCET, Otani will discuss his experience covering the disasters in Japan with Val Zavala, KCET’s vice president of news and public affairs.

On Wednesday, March 18, Otani will also answer live questions via Ustream moderated by KCET’s editor-in-chief of blogs Zach Behrens that will run on KCET.org and KCET’s Facebook page during the 3 p.m. hour.

“Japan has a long recovery ahead and we are committed to working with U.S.-Japan Council to help support the rebuilding of the region in the wake of such devastating natural disasters,” said KCET President and CEO Al Jerome, who will participate in the pledge. “We are proud to be able act as a relief facilitator for our viewers in the community we serve, many of whom have friends and family in Japan.”

The magnitude 9 earthquake that hit Japan nearly two months ago was the largest in Japan’s recorded history. According to a recent report by World Bank, the damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami disaster could cost Japan up to $235 billion.

*KCET has received a special FCC waiver to air this live fundraiser where monies will be solely allocated to supporting Japan relief.

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