3/16/13 Tokyo, Japan
U.S. Ambassador to Japan, John Roos talking about the two year anniversary of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in the Tohoku region, on 3/11. An event was held to honor those who were affected including Ayaka Ogawa who lost her entire family in the tragedy. Through the help of the Tomodachi Initiative, she is now living in Michigan and attending school.
I was honored to be invited to a special luncheon today hosted by Give2Asia http://www.give2asia.org in San Francisco. 4 NGOs from the Tohoku area were invited to share their experiences in the rebuild and relief effort in the areas affected by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant failure.
It was heartwarming to hear their stories and their challenges. Yet their commitment showed the strength and resiliency of the Japanese people.
Still one of the messages rang clear: many felt uncertainty in regards to their future and that part of their (NGOs) mission is to give hope to the people who had lost loved ones, their homes, jobs, and any sense of normalcy. There are still over 300,000 people living in temporary housing. The population in some of the towns have decreased to 70% as people, especially the young, moved out to find jobs in Tokyo and other areas. The once vibrant fishing industry in Ishinomaki is now non-existant. Acres and acres of farmland are ruined as agriculture in certain areas has been abandoned.
Many outsiders fear traveling to the region due to the radiation contamination from the Fukushima power plants. The long term economic impact is yet to be realized.
It is my hope that on my trip to the Tohoku area, I can bring a sense of support and hope to the people. As one of the executives from the Give2Asia said, “working in the nonprofit sector to help the rebuild and relief effort, you have to be an optimist”. Bringing a sense of hope to the people, that by working together, there will be a better tomorrow.
Today was such an emotional, moving experience. Thank you Gillian Ira Yeoh and Give2Asia. I look forward to meeting some of the NGOs in Japan next week.
Gillian Yeoh, senior program manager of Give2Asia is responsible for managing the funding for the Japan relief efforts through Give2Asia. Since last March 11, 2011, Give2Asia has raised over $5.7M and funded 15 nonprofit projects in the Tohoku area of Japan.
Give2Asia is the funding agency for One Year After http://www.musicatmsj.org/oneyearafter
November 11, 2011: We delivered our message by hand to the PM’s office — and we will keep delivering this petition to PM Noda and to the media until the government takes action! Let’s continue signing and spreading the word to Save Fukushima’s children.
Update November 10, 2011: Today the Committee on compensation failed to protect Fukushima’s children saying it was out of their jurisdiction. But the Prime Minister has the authority and our petition to him is exploding — we will deliver the number of signers to him and to the media until he takes urgent action. Sign Now!
Right now, thousands of local residents are still trapped in the highly contaminated areas in and around Fukushima City. Children and families left destitute by the tsunami can’t afford to get out– and the government is failing to help them.
But a group of brave mothers have taken to the streets to ensure their children are helped out of the disaster zone. Hundreds of supporters from around the country have gathered for a sit-in outside the Ministry of Economy in Tokyo demanding that Prime Minister Noda grant their children the opportunity to evacuate. We can stand with them.
This is, literally, the fight of their lives. Children, sitting in the midst of radioactive contamination, don’t have a day to lose. Let’s build a giant outcry for a healthy future for Fukushima children. Sign the urgent petition on the right and forward this campaign widely – it will be delivered directly to the Prime Minister and the the media as the numbers grow.
“Turning Crisis into Opportunity – What Silicon Valley can do to help Rebuild Japan”
Event: Wednesday, June 29, 2011
5:30-9:30pm PARC, Palo Alto
Sponsored by Keizai Society, Silicon Valley Wireless and TiE Silicon Valley
Kamron Elahian, a successful global entrepreneur, venture capitalist, philanthropist, and keynote speaker at the recent Keizai fundraising event, roused the audience with his honest and frank statements about supporting Japan after the tragedies of March 11, 2011. Not realizing that there were hundreds of orphaned youths left stranded after the tsunami and earthquake, he didn’t think that such a rich country as Japan needed his organization’s support. After all, Kamran’s nonprofit organization has helped thousands of needy children around the world in under developed countries. After learning about the Ashinaga organization’s effort to help the orphans Kamran committed his organization to help and encouraged others in the audience to do the same. With an impromptu “ask”, Kamran inspired others to take action and within a few minutes, raised over $10,000 for the Ashinaga organization. A powerful demonstration of what Silicon Valley can do to help rebuild Japan.
“Think of what a modern-day Robin Hood would do”, Kamran says. “Today, we don’t have to snatch wealth from the rich and give it to the poor. We have the means to level the playing field – provide everybody with the beat tools to learn and grow, and create new opportunities for economic and social progress and equality.”
Biscuits, in San Jose Japantown is selling the “Hope for Japan” eco-friendly tennis balls to help raise money for the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, which sent teams of volunteers to Sendai in the search and rescue efforts.
Stop by Biscuits at 223 Jackson St. San Jose www.shopbiscuits.com for a good cause and a great toy for your pet.
The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation
10am Saturday morning on KRON-TV, Somei Yoshino Taiko Ensemble and others will be interviewed, talking about Japan Restart Charity Concert for the Northern Japan Earthquake Relief Fund.
The concert will be on Saturday, April 16, 2011 ath the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 1991 Post St. San Francisco.
12pm – 2pm and 3pm – 5pm.
The show will be streamed live to Japan.
For more info, goto: www.japanrestart.eventbrite.com
March 28, 2011
Statement on Emergency Response in Japan
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s thoughts are with the people of Japan in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck on March 11, 2011.
On March 23, 2011, the foundation provided a $1 million grant to Mercy Corps to provide emergency response to earthquake and tsunami-affected communities.
Mercy Corps has been working with its longstanding partner in Japan, Peace Winds, which responded within hours of the disaster. Peace Winds was able to get emergency supplies — including large shelters, tents, blankets, instant rice, and fresh produce — to families in devastated areas. It continues to expand the scope of its emergency services at the community level.
While the emergency in Japan falls outside the typical scope of the foundation’s Emergency Response grantmaking, the magnitude of the crisis called for a response.
The foundation will continue to monitor the situation.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.