Just a quick post, as people are asking me how to directly donate to the victims in Tohoku region in Japan.
What they need most of all is rice and water. As it is cold, they also need basic things like blankets and warm clothing. Batteries are sent directly from factories to Tohoku (thus you can't find any in your local shops). Other things are perishable goods that may or may not be a good idea to try to send.
From inside Japan, NHK suggests two ways to donate money. One is the Japanese Red Cross, the other is AkaiHane ("Red Feather") also known as the Central Community Chest of Japan and each Local Community Chests.
Here are details on their websites how to donate (in English):
Japanese Red Cross
Source NHK World (in Japanese):
There may be many other good ways to donate and help, but these are two very respected organizations, and no hazzle. Be careful about suspicious e-mails and strange websites with no real history or explanation. Scams are not unusual in times like these.
From abroad, please consider donating via your local Red Cross branch. They know how to get in touch with their Japanese counterpart. From Pacific Islander:
Also, if you want your donation spent on Japan, you have to make sure of it. Many charities, including reputable ones like the American Red Cross, will be asking for donations by reporting on the disaster in Japan. But be advised, that does not mean they will spend your donation on helping Japan.
So, before you give, please read this article at Charity Navigator: Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. The article offers advice on making the decision to give, how to avoid scams, and a list of charities that Charity Navigator has analyzed and rated, which will use your donation to directly help the victims of this tragedy.
By all means, help Japan in this time of crisis, but do so wisely.
If you are in Tokyo this weekend, there are many events, including the Nippori station market called Nippori Marche on Monday, March 21 (public holiday). They will accept donations, both cash and stuff (see above). This is a terrific chance for all of you in the capital, who are the main beneficiaries of the electricity from Fukushima, to show your support. trucks will carry the goods directly up to the region. I'm told permits are already cleared so they are eager to go.
Earth Day Market in Yoyogi, Tokyo is suspended. If you have any further information about the cancellation, please let me know.
(Image from MSN.com with a poster from DaveCT at redbubble, urging you to support victims both in Japan and in Christchurch, New Zealand)