U.S.-Japan Council Establishes Relief Fund

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Irene Hirano Inouye, president of the U.S.-Japan Council, issued the following statement on Wednesday.

The U.S.-Japan Council extends its most sincere sympathies for the losses suffered by the people of Japan. We share the deep worldwide concern over the mounting devastation from the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis as the heartbreaking losses continue to grow.

When the earthquake struck on March 11, I was in Japan along with the 2011 Japanese American Leadership Delegation. Friday was the final day in our successful week-long trip, when the tremors began. Our experience in Tokyo was frightening; however, despite travel delays, we were able to return to the United States over the weekend.

Recurring aftershocks and reports of nuclear exposure and the growing threat from damaged nuclear plants continue to make it unsettling for all residents of Japan.

The U.S.-Japan Council is committed to ensuring strong U.S.-Japan relations through people-to-people connections. We are mobilizing support for both the immediate relief and long-term rebuilding of Tohoku, Japan in partnership and collaboration with others. The U.S.-Japan Council board, council members, and staff stand united in our efforts to support Japan.

When the last major earthquake in Japan devastated the city of Kobe in 1995, the Japanese American and Japanese communities in the U.S. joined with U.S. friends and allies and responded quickly by raising significant funds to support relief and recovery efforts. We are again inspired by the immediate outpouring of support and generosity of many organizations and individuals, especially in the Japanese American and Japanese communities.

The U.S.-Japan Council will focus its earthquake and tsunami relief and rebuilding efforts in two ways:

1) The council will raise funds to support Japanese non-profit organizations and non-governmental organizations through the establishment of U.S.-Japan Council Earthquake Relief Fund (www.usjapancouncil.org/fund). 100% of donations will be directed to relief and rebuilding efforts in Japan.

This inclusive fund will serve as a vehicle for other organizations wishing to fundraise by allowing them to partner with the council. The council’s website will host a page to collect contributions and provide information. Donors from participating organizations can specify their organizational affiliation and those gifts will be acknowledged and reported to the partner organization.

2) There are many excellent relief efforts already under way. The council believes it is important to share information amongst the various organizations raising funds to ensure maximum visibility and impact of local, regional and national efforts. We have established the U.S.-Japan Relief Network, which will be accessed through the www.usjapancouncil.org website. Here, the Council will promote the efforts of a coalition of organizations raising funds for relief.

Please join us in mobilizing the U.S.-Japan Council Earthquake Relief Fund by visiting www.usjapancouncil.org/fund or mail checks made out to the “U.S.-Japan Council Earthquake Relief Fund” and send to: The U.S.-Japan Council, 2207 Colby Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90064.

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