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Japan and How You Can Help (No Donations Required)

19 Mar 2011

While I have been keeping up with the headlines on the multiple disasters in Japan–earthquake, tsunami, aftershocks the equivalent of earthquakes, possible nuclear meltdowns–I haven’t been watching the newscasts because I have no desire to see that much misery. Every time a natural disaster occurs, I wait for my federal government to announce that it’ll match donations, then log onto a charity web site and make my donation, secure in the knowledge that others like me around the world will do the same (actually, I find most people don’t even wait for the matching donation announcement because they’re better than I am). Imagine my consternation when a week later and the donations are, frankly, pathetic.

Now, I understand most of the world is just coming out of an economic recession, but the lack of donations goes beyond the recession. There have been blog posts and articles attempting to explain the anti-Japan sentiment that make me see red. I won’t link to those web sites because they don’t need the publicity, but I’ll summarize their ignorant points:

  • The disaster is karma for Pearl Harbor. WTF? Even if I bought into the whole karma business, I would think the US dropping two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was payback enough.
  • Japan and Japanese companies didn’t provide aid during 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina. Seriously? Remember the spam that went around saying Americans should only buy vehicles from the Detroit Three because they donated to the 9/11 relief funds while their Japanese counterparts didn’t? Well, that was a big fat lie, but unfortunately too many people took it at face value because everything they read in their inbox or on the internet must be true. Then there was that myth about how Japan ignored Hurricane Katrina. Once again, a big fat lie.
  • Japan is a wealthy country and can survive without assistance. Maybe so because it is the most technologically advanced country in the world (e.g. even their vending machines are programmed to open during earthquakes to provide free food and water to those who need them) and is better prepared for such a disaster than any other country, but they’ll recover faster with help. And realize that since it is the third-largest economy in the world, there are large economic ripples across the globe. You’ve seen the sell-off in the stock markets beyond the Nikkei…although I think anyone betting against Japan is an idiot. Also, Americans need to realize that with 20%, Japan is the second-biggest foreign holder of US government debt. Imagine what will happen when Japan sells it to fund the rebuilding and recovery efforts.

However, I’m not here to tell people they must make a charitable donation. Some people think they donate enough to charity through their taxes, and rightly so. If you don’t want to donate, that’s your choice and you don’t have to explain your decision. If you do, however, don’t use moronic excuses that just don’t wash.

If you do want to help out Japan, leave a comment on or trackback to this post. For every comment or trackback link, I’ll donate CAD$1, which is actually worth more than USD$1, to a registered charity, up to CAD$1000. You have until March 31, 2011.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. 19 Mar 2011 4:40 PM

    Well said.

  2. colz permalink
    19 Mar 2011 7:04 PM

    if every billionaire donate at least one million (which is nothing to them) that would help Japan tremendously.. I don’t think people like us with the average income shod be contributing in a reccession. yes a little would count.. but it doesnt make such a big difference compare to the billionaires.. or even millionaires

    • 19 Mar 2011 9:37 PM

      As someone who believes that if I look after the pennies, the dollars will look after themselves, I have to respectfully disagree with you. Small amounts do add up. Look at Barack Obama’s grassroots donation campaign. Personally, I amassed six-figures for a down payment on my home by saving my income from a string of part-time jobs since I was 11 (maybe 12), and that’s still with me taking a massive hit on Nortel while in university. I’m not bragging; I’m just showing what can be done even with only $5/hr.

  3. 19 Mar 2011 7:06 PM

    Very well said. I usually donate to the American Red Cross anytime there’s a natural disaster, and they’ve make it VERY easy to do that – I did it from my iPhone, the local news station had volunteers from TARC on their newscast taking phone calls while they were on the air and the number scrolled across the screen.

    Did you also hear that immediately following the earthquake and tsunami that there was NO LOOTING in any Japanese city? Wish we could say the same here…

    • 19 Mar 2011 7:25 PM

      I know! The more I learn about this country and its people, the more I want to help. And, unlike certain other countries, I know the aid won’t be diverted into the pockets of corrupt government and military officials.

  4. 20 Mar 2011 8:25 AM

    Good thinking, Ann. I sent my donation for Japan through Doctors without Borders. Very often I send to charities vetted by the NY Times, paticularly around the holidays.

  5. 20 Mar 2011 11:50 AM

    I can only echo, well said. I agree small amounts add up. How many monuments and churches in the US and elsewhere were built largely from nickel and dime donations from ordinary citizens? Washington Monument, Statue of Liberty and Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, anyone? Yes, there were big donations from organizations and wealthy individuals, but without the broad-based support of those small donations from ordinary folks, none of those structures would’ve ever been built.

  6. Jane permalink
    20 Mar 2011 3:14 PM

    I read about the tweets that basketball player said about the tragedy being karma for Pearl Harbor and her lame insincere apology. Doctors Without Borders is my go to charity, too.

    • Ann Bruce permalink
      20 Mar 2011 4:02 PM

      Unfortunately, she’s the not the only who shares that sentiment–and she’s not the most high-profile either.

  7. 21 Mar 2011 7:58 AM

    What an amazingly generous offer, wow, you are amazing!

    I spread the word on Twitter, Facebook and even blogged about it here:

    Thank you!! Will try to spread the word even more 🙂

  8. 21 Mar 2011 8:02 AM

    Don’t know if these count for separate comments, but anyway: I tweeted here, anyone is welcome to use it, retweet it!

  9. 21 Mar 2011 8:03 AM

    Also posted on Facebook:

  10. 21 Mar 2011 8:45 PM

    Every single penny donated to a good cause can–and does–make a difference. Thank you, Ann, for this incredibly generous action.

  11. Joan permalink
    22 Mar 2011 7:48 AM

    What a generous offer and a great post.

  12. Patrick permalink
    25 Mar 2011 10:00 PM


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