JACL, Direct Relief Provide Funds to AAR Japan

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SAN FRANCISCO — The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and Direct  Relief International announced Tuesday an initial cash transfer of $400,000 from the jointly established Japan Relief and Recovery Fund to Association for Aid and Relief Japan (AAR Japan), a 31-year-old leading Japanese non-profit, non-governmental organization.

This support will replenish funds that AAR Japan has expended on extensive emergency-relief operations and enable the organization to continue and expand its urgently needed activities that are focused on persons with disabilities and elderly persons affected by the March 11 earthquake, the resulting tsunami, and damage to a nuclear power plant.

AAR Japan responded immediately after the disaster struck, dispatching emergency teams and providing essential supplies. Its relief efforts are being conducted with approval from all local governments in the affected areas of Miyagi Prefecture and include support to 20 institutions, evacuation camps, and schools that have become temporary shelters for displaced residents.

This initial infusion of cash from the JACL-Direct Relief fund was made possible by thousands of individual donations and a $500,000 grant from Amgen. The amount is 25 percent of the $1.6 million in Japan-designated funds the organization has received since the earthquake.

In addition to the emergency cash grants, Direct Relief also has offered medical and personal care inventories available for immediate transport upon approval from the government of Japan, which has thus far requested private international aid groups to defer transporting material aid until needs can be identified and distribution channels cleared.

JACL’s Japan Chapter members, including president John Ino and Brent Mori, in cooperation with Professor Keiko Tanaka from Meiji Gakuin University, have been helpful, serving to advise, identify, and liaise with Japanese NGOs conducting response activities.

JACL National Executive Director Floyd Mori and Direct Relief Chief Program Officer Brett Williams will be traveling to Japan to conduct additional assessments and meet with Japanese counterpart organizations.

“The intent with this initial donation is to provide immediate, direct assistance to people who suffered an enormous tragedy and are experiencing severe hardship in Japan,” said Mori. “Through the JACL network and close coordination with Direct Relief, we are very pleased that these resources will enable AAR Japan to continue its essential work in the affected areas. One of the critical issues to donors is that money donated will directly assist the stricken, which this will do. We are grateful to all who have donated.”

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