View Full Version : Tohoku Japan Earthquake/Tsunami/Atomic Disaster 2011

Nathan Scott
24th March 2011, 20:16
Hello all,

We've been looking in to the various ways of offering support to Japan. The problem is figuring out how to get the majority of your donation to the people who need them. Many large organizations have been found to spend the majority of received donations on their own administrative / operational fees, with only a small amount actually making it to the intended target. So following is the best info I've been able to find so far (feel free to offer further):

The Southern California Naginata Federation has donated $500 to the Japanese Red Cross via the Japanese Consulate. Below is an announcement paraphrased from the Japanese Consulate General of Japan here in LA:


Monetary Donations in Response to the Japanese Tohoku Area - Pacific Ocean Earthquake

The Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles is accepting monetary donations in response to the Tohoku - Pacific Ocean Earthquake. They claim 100% will go toward aiding the Japanese people with recovery from the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power plant meltdowns.

They are accepting donations by check. Please address the check and mail as detailed below.

Write Checks to:
“Consulate General of Japan”
(Memo line: Earthquake Aid)

Mailing Address:
Consulate General of Japan
350 S. Grand Ave., Suite 1700
Los Angeles, CA 90071-3472
(Earthquake Aid)

Please write "Earthquake Aid" on both the check memo line and the mailing envelope. The donations accepted will be sent directly to the Japanese Red Cross Society. Donations from individuals and organizations are both welcome.

For more information see the Embassy of Japan and Consulates in the U.S. webpage:

The Japanese Consulate is forwarding donations directly to the Japanese Red Cross (bypassing the American Red Cross). So, another option is to donate directly to the Japanese Red Cross here:

http://www.jrc.or.jp/english/ (English)

As far as financial donations go, the best way is probably to donate directly to the local associations in the affected areas (Kenjinkai 県人会 ). These are local clubs formed by the residents. This cuts out all the middle men.

Not all of them seem to have webpages, but here are best links I could find to the most affected areas:

Ibaraki Prefecture:
http://www.pref.ibaraki.jp/bukyoku/soumu/zeimu/kifukin/indexsaigai.htm (Japanese)

Fukushima Prefecture:
http://www.worldvillage.org/fia/kinkyu_english.php (English)
http://www.worldvillage.org/fia/data/donation_0316_1600.pdf (English - *wire donation instructions*)
http://wwwcms.pref.fukushima.jp (Japanese)

Miyagi Prefecture (Sendai):
http://www.pref.miyagi.jp/kihu.htm#3 (Japanese)

Another, and perhaps easiest donation, is to donate shoes. Shoes (especially dry shoes) are a big problem in Japan right now. You can send them shoes and know that your entire donation is getting there while helping someone for sure through Sports Chalet:

I hope everyone's friends and family in Japan have made it through o.k. This is a really sad event.


Nathan Scott
26th March 2011, 05:35
You have to be a member, but Bank of the West is offering Japan disaster relief donations via wire transfer with no service charge (usually about $35.00) until April 30th 2011. See here for further:

Bank of the West (https://www.bankofthewest.com/about-us/press-center/press-releases/details/2011-03-17-botw-commits-200thousand-to-japan-relief.html)


26th March 2011, 07:58
Those wishing to donate to Japan or other crises may find Good Intentions Are Not Enough (http://goodintents.org/) to be a useful resource for deciding how, when, and to whom.

Suffice it to say the general populace usually has no grasp of the complexity of aid issues. The best options are usually a very large international organization (yes, there's admin overhead, but this is *not* a bad thing, and you may not be able to earmark funds, and that's also *not* a bad thing), or a local organization to which you have some connection.


Nathan Scott
28th March 2011, 22:41

Thanks for posting that link. It is definitely worth reading through. However, that being said, here are a few observations after reading the articles there:

1) Disaster relief provided through large organizations is still lacking expedient coordination between groups, and between the affected governments. I think having organizations with expert experience is great, but there are two kinds of relief: Immediate relief for those suffering now, and disaster relief designed for longer term clean up and recovery. Large organizations are more effective in longer term aid, but get too bogged down in bureaucracy. Bureaucracy = a loss of valuable time and money. A good example is how Japan has tons of food and other aid staged at various places near disaster zones, but can't drive them in due to blocked roads and/or not enough gas. The obvious solution is to drop them in by helicopter, but this hasn't happened. IMO, reputable support organizations SHOULD be supported, but immediate aid is, I believe, a different issue.

2) There is no country that is 100% prepared for disaster. It costs too much money and resources to be that ready. As such, most countries / voters opt for the minimum state of readiness, instead prioritizing their funds and resources on more immediate needs. In Fukushima, TV kept reporting how the government staff and reactor staff kept saying that such a disaster was "Unexpected". It seems to me that there job is to anticipate and be prepared for such disasters, especially when history has shown there that many are predictable. As such, IMO, any country affected by such a disaster is going to need help from other people/country - if immediate aid is the issue.

3) I'm pretty sure that the people who are currently suffering do not care where or how the aid comes from. Japanese people are proud, and this is also reflected in their government. I don't believe they would solicit other countries for aid as quickly as they should. Either way, a show of support from other countries is important, and a push for solutions to immediate aid should be sought. Unfortunately, it's my opinion that large organizations are not the answer to immediate aid. Bypassing them - at least in the beginning - in order to get direct relief to the people affected, for them to distribute as needed, is probably the most effective tactic when considering the inefficiency of large organizations to move quickly through more proper political channels. I'm sure the host of "Good Intentions are not Enough" is a great person that is worthy of supporting, but in the interest of full disclosure, she is also a professional consultant who makes her living working in disaster relief. Her position sounds like that of someone who is a professional in the field. It should be compared with the reports of how things are actually working out from those in the affected areas of Japan over the last couple of weeks. Not enough people assisting, and not enough aid getting to them quick enough.


The webpage is a good resource, and big organizations are worth supporting in some fashion. It is good perspective to read the articles on her webpage. But let's face it, red tape is what you get when governments are involved, and issues of who is going to pay for something, or what percentage of donations from each organization should be used.

Perhaps it would be best to clarify whether we are talking about immediate aid vs. extended aid.

Thanks for posting,