Japan America Society Raises $1 Million for Japan Relief

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Dr. Kazuo Inamori (center) founder and chairman emeritus of Kyocera Corporation, founder of KDDI Corporation and current chairman of Japan Airlines, and Nancy Woo Hiramoto, chairwoman of the Japan America Society of Southern California, are joined by the five charter donors to the society's Japan Relief Fund and representatives from Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate prefectures at the 102nd anniversary dinner held in Costa Mesa on April 2.

With more than 500 members and friends of the Japan America Society of Southern California (JASSC) in attendance Saturday night at its 102nd Anniversary Dinner, $35,795 was raised for the JASSC 2011 Japan Relief Fund, established by the JASSC within hours of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck northeastern Japan on March 11. Total donations to the JASSC 2011 Japan Relief Fund now exceed $1 million.

“Each year, the Japan America Society’s annual dinner brings together individuals and businesses from Japan and the United States, and that is more important than ever in this time of need,” said Douglas Erber, president of JASSC. “We are grateful for the outpouring of concern and the generosity of our members and supporters as evidenced by their contributions to the 2011 Japan Relief Fund.”

The dinner was held at the Westin South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, with South Coast Plaza Shopping Resort serving as presenting sponsor.  The event included the JASSC High Tech Fair, silent auction and reception. The dinner honored Dr. Kazuo Inamori, founder and chairman emeritus of Kyocera Corporation, founder of KDDI Corporation and current chairman of Japan Airlines. Receiving the JASSC’s Kokusai Shimin Sho “International Citizens Award,” Inamori acknowledged JASSC’s efforts on behalf of fostering relationships between the people of Japan and America, and the JASSC’s fast response to help in this crisis.

“It is a great honor for me to receive the International Citizens Award from the Japan America Society of Southern California,” said Inamori. “I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the people of the society and all those concerned with this event.”

The evening concluded with large contributions made by the five charter donors to the JASSC 2011 Japan Relief Fund. Kennedy Wilson and Bank of the West each donated $50,000, while Sunkist Growers is using its social media channels and global email newsletter to inform its consumers of the JASSC 2011 Japan Relief Fund. Sunkist pledged a matching donation of up to $200,000. The Rafu Shimpo raised $50,000 from its readers. Torrance-based Quinstar Technology Inc. contributed $33,000.

Through an introduction by board member Sakiko Yamada, the JASSC is partnering with the Yoshiki Foundation America (www.yoshikifoundation.org) on Japan relief and recovery efforts. Founded by Japanese musician Yoshiki of the multimillion-selling rock band X Japan, the foundation is a California nonprofit public benefit corporation. Yoshiki attended the dinner and thanked everyone for their support to help the people of Japan recover and rebuild their lives.

Consul General Junichi Ihara of the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles was also on hand to express appreciation to the JASSC, the charter donors of the 2011 Japan Relief Fund and the people of the United States.

“On behalf of the Government of Japan, I express my deepest appreciation to all of you for your strong support for the victims of the great northeast Japan earthquake,” said Ihara. “I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of goodwill from so many people from Southern California and across America.”

Donations to fund can be made by secure, online credit card donations at www.jas-socal.org, or by checks made payable to “2011 Japan  Relief Fund,” and sent to: Japan America Society of Southern California, 345 S. Figueroa St., Suite M-1, Los Angeles, CA 90071-1004.  All donations will be forwarded to disaster relief agencies in Japan that have a demonstrated record of immediate emergency humanitarian relief and long-term restoration and development of destroyed areas.

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