It’s impossible not to be moved by the horrific natural disaster that struck Japan just one week ago. Here’s a personal plea — plus links to two charities — from a Montclair resident who hails from Sendai.

On March 11, 2011 an 8.9 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent aftershocks devastated my home town Sendai, Japan. Having lived in Montclair where my husband, Marc Padberg, grew up (MHS Class of 1988), I have the deepest sense of community. I’m reaching out to you on behalf of the Japanese community asking if you would be so kind to help contribute in any way to the Japanese Earthquake Relief Fund. By this I’m asking if we could work together to come up with ideas in order to help those that suffered tremendously.

I know that the economy is tough for everyone, but thousands and soon to be tens of thousands of people just lost their homes, livelihoods, and entire families. There are two main support groups we are working with: the Japan Society and the Red Cross. There has been a relief fund set up by the Japan Society called The Japan Earthquake Relief Fund in order to help the families and victims of this horrific event. Similarly, the Red Cross has set up a link for the Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami. All contributions are tax deductible. Thank you for your time. Together we can all get through this.

Kanae Yunome & Marc Padberg

Pictured: Our three daughters (front center), Kanae Yunome (far right), my sisters, their children, my brother-in-law and my parents – Sendai Airport, Japan Summer 2009

Photos of the Red Cross in Japan courtesy of American Red Cross Montclair-Glen Ridge-Nutley Chapter.

57 replies on “How To Help Japan”

  1. I have read from several sources that they don’t need ‘stuff’; their distribution systems are in chaos. They need cash. And if you give to the Red Cross, any money over what is needed will then go to other areas in need, so you’re not hamstringing aid. And it has been reported that donations lag behind Haiti and New Zealand, for some reason.

    Really, Prof, telling people not to give because you found a blog on Reuters is beyond belief.

  2. I live in Japan, though I recently returned to Montclair until the situation stabilizes, hopefully very soon. The Japanese government is completely overwhelmed by the scope of the disaster, and is already relying on other governments and private organizations to help provide aid to the hundreds of thousands of families that have been displaced. I don’t know if “profwilliams” was trying to make a bad joke above, but do not heed his advice. Aid organizations such as the Red Cross will be instrumental in providing shelter, food, clothing, medicine and countless other primary needs to the people of Japan who have lost everything.

    I hope to return to Japan sometime in the next week or two. I would be happy to share any information that I can find on ways that people from this area can help those in need in Japan. Thank you for your concern and help.

  3. I believe the comment that Prof W was making (and that the article makes) is that the “special” categories don’t make sense when donating. So that just donating to The Red Cross is much better than earmarking a donation to The Red Cross with “for disaster relief in Japan.” Unrestricted funds are easier to use, and organizations like Doctors w/out Borders and TRC go where there is need anyway.

    At Costco, you can donate money directly to The Red Cross when you check out.

  4. (Glad to see Schooled read my post as I was certainly NOT making light of this tragedy. Sadly, some here don’t comprehend as clearly.)

  5. I think most of us understood you, Prof. You’d rather donate toys to be sent to 450,000 people with not enough food & water in unheated shelters than give cash, lest it be earmarked wrongly.

  6. I know Im going to get it with this remark, but I think we should keep our efforts on Haiti, a poor country that still needs help but because of America’s short term memory we are on to the next big news. Japan is not a poor country. Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Infiniti, Acura, Lexus, Hitachi, Fuji, Sharp, Epson, Panasonic, Nippon. These are American household names. This isnt a third world.
    Japan as a country donated $200,000 to Red Cross for the Katrina relief. They provided $1million in emergency supplies and their American household name companies donated $13million through American corporate and employee donations. Japan is the 3rd wealthiest country behind the U.S. and China. Im not saying that Japan does not need help, nor am I discounting the lives of the japanese people… I just think concert benefits and bake sales can go further to helping Haiti while big governments can bail out Japan’s infrastructure rebuild

  7. “Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Infiniti, Acura, Lexus, Hitachi, Fuji, Sharp, Epson, Panasonic, Nippon.”

    The information is carefully positioned coming out of Japan, so as not to create panic, but I think you’ll find every one of those corporations has had shutdowns, supply interruptions and other adverse events which may seriously impact our economy here, and much more so, their own economy.

    I wouldn’t argue that Haiti has an enormous and deeper need. But in a million years, I would never trust that the corporations and their shareholders would step up to bail out or meaningfully assist those in need in Japan any more than our corporations would do that here.

    Fact is, we need to give to all of them, in whatever paltry way we can. Really, what did Goldman Sachs do for Katrina victims?

  8. I think we should aid & help Japan, but not to the detriment of our citizens, many of whom are very poor.

    In short order, american dealers of Japanese cars are going to run flat out of inventory. Until then, they will be charging top dollar on new cars, sinply because they know that no new replacment inventory will be in the piplines. Soon after, Americans will turn back to American products, whose profits stay in the USA, and in turn, that will help American business & our manufacturing of vehicles.

  9. Sandy, I have given some thought to how we let entire swaths of this country go to rust while the suits chased profits overseas, and how it may have come back to bite us in our arses. If we were to see the light and create manufacturing facilities here it might not be a bad thing. But it would require some level of subsidies, and a long term investment which might not pay any of us back in our lifetimes. And the current political climate doesn’t value that kind of investment: it would only reward the long-term greater good, not the immediate return on investment.
    Same with Haiti — fixing its problems is a long term commitment that nobody thinks they can afford.

  10. According to Goldman’s own website, the company pledged one million dollars in relief to Haiti, and agreed to match employee contributions. This is chump change for the Masters of the Universe.

    If you are aware of additional contributions that the company has made, please let us know of them.

  11. The million bucks that Goldman contributes to Katrina hardly matters, cro. It’s the billions in compensation to the Ms of the U that truly benefit the downtrodden. Don’t ask me how, though, it’s beyond my understanding.

  12. Mine too.

    But it must be right, because they say so and they are, after all, Masters of the Universe.

  13. I hold no firm brief either way on aid to Japan. I merely observe that so many places need help, and that in Haiti people simply always had “nothing.” Just less of it lately.

    It is also frequently noted, for what it’s worth, that the Japanese themselves in fact have little familiarity with charitable giving, that their culture lacks an infrastructure where groups like the Sallies and Catholic Charities play an active, ongoing role.

    I also find that the seeming reticence of the Japanese government to make clear statementsd about whar is actually going on over there is very bothersome. Perhaps the worst remark from a Japanese official that I myself heard was the one by the country’s very chief executive in which he said that the earthquake was the worst disaster Japan has faced since WWII. This indicated, at the very least, a curious Japan-centric view of history, since it failed to take into account the horrors Japan wrought upon Burma, Malaya, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Korea and especially China during a war which Japan in fact started abd bore basically complete responsibility for in the East. (And was quite willing to continue even as its military had collapsed; hence our resort to the atomic bomb, as historians like Richard Frank and Max Hastings make very clear.) It is well-known that even Japanese universities fudge the facts about WWII, let alone Japanese grade and high schools. One thus wonders if its citizens ever in fact heard words like “Chernobyl” and “meltdowns” during parliamentary debate over the wisdom of Japan’s considerable commitment to atomic power.

    This is not a country which I trust to keep even its own citizens fully informed. Even as one’s heart goes out to those suffering so over there, it might still be wise to remain wary of giving to…well, to what exactly? Just because a charity seems to arise as a result of a natural disaster does not necessarily prove that said charity can actually accomplish good things. I understand the immediate draw of an emotional appeal, sure, but there are at least just as many good reasons to hang fire until we know what exactly Japan needs and where aid can be best applied. And in a spirit of genuine political openness.

  14. Empathy, Cathar, is not for the regime, or the culture you don’t trust or for the government that isn’t forthcoming. It’s for the baby in the snow, or the grandmother you couldn’t get to, in the hopes that someone else would. It’s for the loyal dog who stands by his dying canine friend. It’s got nothing to do with the history of who did what to whom. All I’m saying is that there’s not enough of it, as is well demonstrated here on this thread.

  15. I think we all need to keep this in perspective as Larry Kudlow on CNBC has done, which is nicely illustrated with these words from Mr. Kudlow: “The human toll here looks to be much worse than the economic toll and we can be grateful for that.”

  16. Lovely sentiment, Kit, very nicely said. It would have been more effective, I think, without the phrase “as is well demonstrated on this thread.”

    Why are you wasting your time watching Kudlow, Tudlow? Better to kiss someone nice, or lick a rock, or both.

  17. The politics of mere empathy are practiced on this site on a daily basis. This very item is proof of that. But a phrase like “it is impossible not to be moved…” is also a loaded one. And hard to buy into completely in this day and age when we’ve finally acknowledged that money is tight. It is getting harder and harder, I suspect for everybody, to be moved by such appeals. It is no longer impossible, so to speak, since times are hard most everywhere.

    In any case, too, how do we prioritize the spending of limited funds? To the relatively rich Japanese (who rarely have evinced such charitable concerns themselves to other nations)? To Haiti, where people are horn and die with nothing? To another plae you may have heard of, Darfur? (I know, it stands for a region.) What of the misery that prevails in so much of India? And have you ever been to some of the “hollers” of West Virginia?

    The thing that distinguishes Western, Euro-centric culture from the rest of the world is that we are still able to be moved by such situations, that we retain charitable impulses. Even on a global scale. Nevertheless, I continue to expect more from the Japanese government than it has so far given us about the “absolute reality” (to quote one of my favorite bands, The Alarm) of its current string of nuclear disasters, and Japan’s case for aid in general was ill-served by its chief executive comparing the matter to his country’s fate in totally -avoidable WWII in the East.

    (I also await the inevitable responses from those who will clamber over each other to now claim they are are far more empathetic to Japan’s suffering tham I’ll ever be. Well, yes, perhaps, but to what real effect?)

  18. I hate the politics, the mind-set of the business leaders of Japan, which, put simply are “We Win – You Lose” Period. They do not wish to participate in our commerce, but rather to dictate and to change our commerce to their ways and means, and put American corporations in the “red”. HOWVER … I think about the working class, whom have lost eveything. The people who have nothing. No shelter, food, clothing, etc. The other side of this is that America will step up to their call, and send money, aid, perhaps medicine & doctors and Red Cross workers, because it’s the right thing to do, and we are a religious people.

    Sadly, God Forbid, such a terrible thing taking place here in the USA, would fall on deaf ears in Japan, whose only worry would be how big a drop would follow in their exports to the USA. Recall 9-11 ?? Can anyone recall any statments from Japan on 9-12 ?? Though not.

    Still….I think of the children, and the citizens with nothing.
    They deserve help.

  19. Um, Sandy, did you read the quote from Larry Kudlow, who I must point out is no relation to Tudlow. We are not a nation of saints.

    And religious people do not have a copyright on the “right thing to do.” Atheists can be pretty damn moral and magnanimous, too.

    I don’t quite understand this sentiment of “well, we’ll give because we are better than you and we don’t really like you but we’re such good people that we’ll donate, anyways, but we’re keeping tabs just so you know!”

  20. Sandy, the Japanese didn’t kill the US auto industry. The Americans did that all by themselves. Ron Reagan can be particularly congratulated for choking off American manufacturing.

  21. News Flash! The American Vehicle (I am including trucks) is far from “dead”

    Tudlow; where did I say this:

    I don’t quite understand this sentiment of “well, we’ll give because we are better than you and we don’t really like you but we’re such good people that we’ll donate, anyways, but we’re keeping tabs just so you know!”

  22. Tudlow, you know Kudlow just misspoke. They were discussing the market impact and he did note the human tragedy. He did apologize however, unlike some MEA members at a recent BOE meeting.

  23. Well said, kit.

    As far as 9/11 is concerned, the Japanese government did, along with just about every other government, issue a statement of sympathy for the Us and a condemnation of the act. Not that that matters one way or another, by the way, in terms of aid to people, not “governments” who need help.

    The Japanese are no more trying to “destroy” American manufacturing than any other nation is trying to advance its interests, and that sometimes means at the expense of another nation’s. The US is not a charity — US manufacturers and business people pursue their interests around the world with little concern as to how “others” are affected. And that is how business works.For everyone. At least, for anyone who is good at it.

    The WWII remarks are equally absurd. The Japanese government said that this was the worst catastrophe the nation has faced since WWII. It is. Whether the war was “avoidable” is not the point. First, those who brought about those events are all dead. Second, the remark was made in reference to the suffering that people are experiencing now. How the culpability of the long-gone Japanese government impinges on that suffering is a matter that escapes me.

    “Deaf ears” and a “drop in imports”? Yesterday’s NYT carried a story about the economic impact that this tragedy will have on AMERICAN businesses. Does this mean that Americans don’t care except as far as it affects their economic interest? I don’t think so.

    This self-congratulatory “Western and Euro, blah blah” culture superiority is nonsense. “We” are moved to help because “we” are in the position to do so. Perhaps Laotians care too, but would be hard pressed to express that concern in monetary terms. More “we’re great why doesn’t everybody say so” tripe, in my view.

  24. Kevin, please, what exactly does the MEA have to do with anything? That’s kind of bizarre there, buddy.

    But yes, yes, you’re right, Kudlow just misspoke when he placed more importance on the market than human suffering. It’s an easy thing to do. It was good of him to note the tragedy of it all, though.

    Sandy, you seem like a good man but I was commenting on what appears to be you keeping tabs on charity, i.e., Japan did not express sympathy after 9/11 (which croi just disproved) but we as religious Americans will turn the other cheek and give to those in Japan.

  25. As cathar noted, human suffering abounds world wide and where and how to distribute relief funds can of course be very subjective. I continue to be proud of Americans who’s efforts to help when needed can be counted on. We, Cro, certainly are is a position to help and we are in that position because of our splendid constitution. It didn’t happen by chance and IMO false modesty is as silly as braggadocio.

    Hey Tudlow, thanks for giving the atheists around here a heads up.

  26. Oh Dag! Nice to “see” you–it’s been a while. I hope you are doing well, you Godless capitalist worshiper, you. 🙂

  27. Hi Tudlow. Nice to see you too. I’ve been around now and again but have been busy out playing. Having fun can be very had work! I’ve been spending my very hard, proudly earned money. Just waiting for April 15th to read some movie reviews. Hint!!

  28. Dag, a more contentious sort than I might argue that “WE” are in a position to help because “WE” are a nation of immigrants who wrested an enormously portion of the earth rich in resources from the original inhabitants and combined the labour of those immigrants with the forced labour of enslaved Africans in order to create a wealthy nation. I don’t see what the Constitution has to do with it. As for “chance” well, your presence in the US as opposed to say Turkey is just that — chance. Luck of the draw.

  29. Wrested those resources from whom, cro? The original inhabitants had been largely wiped out when Europeans first laid eyes on them, courtesy of smallpox. And slavery ended only when the plantation economy was nearly kaput.

  30. I’m afraid I disagree, walleroo. Though one can read various estimates and no one knows for certain, most experts put the number of Indians alive at the time of Jamestown in what now constitutes the USA at 20 to 25 millions. They were not wiped out by smallpox before Europeans first laid eyes on them — the Europeans are the ones who laid the smallpox as well as eyes on them.

    Slavery would likely have dies off eventually, but it was going strong in 1861 and any southern apologist who tells you that the preservation of the institution was not a major factor in the conflict is deluded or a liar. The plantation economy could not survive without slavery, hence its demise.

  31. Cro a friend of mind just sent me a note which noted that fortune favors the prepared mind (or something like that). Our Constitutuion laid a fine foundation for all kinds of preparations. It’s no chance that those of us who by chance were born here thrive in ways many in this world envy.

    Gotta go. Take it walleroo

  32. I don’t think the southern economy was very strong at the time of the civil war. If the slave-based southern economy had been strong, it would likely have withstood the onslaught of moral outrage and the Union army. We all know that effect, don’t we–the power of money to win hearts and minds? In any case, to say that slavery was an big economic engine in the rise of the US doesn’t ring true.

    You may be right about Jamestown. Which would make sense, being an early settlement. But the disease spread westward rapidly, preceding pioneer settlement, which is why there are accounts of empty towns, cities etc. Same for the southern continent.

    But what do I know. I don’t read much anymore these days.

  33. Dag, your quote was made by a Frenchman. Who probably believed that he too was “special”. (And he was, was Pasteur).

    I can’t quite follow your “its no chance that we who were by chance” reasoning. Please, expound.

  34. I think she means, sir croi, that we are born here by chance but it is by the virtues of our Constitution/form of govt’t/democracy and the free market that we as a nation thrive (and not by chance.)

    But what do I know. I don’t read much anymore, either.

  35. It’s the chance thing cro. By chance as you noted WE were born here. But it’s no chance that we used our Constitution wisely to create this great nation. I know it’s faults and there are many but I still hold my head proud. Those nuns never got to me. I have no shame! 🙂

    You guys are so smart and I love the back and forth but I really have to go now.

    Catch walleroo!

  36. Sure, I’ll grant that the form of government, free enterprise, etc. helped to create the conditions that led to economic success. But that same Constitution, form of government, etc., had it been enacted in Sudan, would not have meant much. There isn’t much there, period.

    Walleroo, there were 39 million people in the US in 1860, and 4 million of them were slaves. The huge concentration of wealth in the south is a testament to the success of the slave-based plantation economy. while most southerners did not own slaves, the wealthiest ones most certainly did, and they owned MORE of them in 1860 than they did 100 years earlier.

    I’d suggest a reading of Meachem’s AMERICAN LION, along with any study of Jackson’s presidency, to cement the fact that Indians were a large and troublesome population for Americans in 1830. The Indian Removal Act is just one outcome, and this was quite a ways before Americans crossed the Mississippi and encountered the Plains Indians.

    This is one of those cultural idiosyncrisies that has almost amused me. The Americans insist that there was “no one there”, the land was empty. The Israelis say it about the Palestinians — empty desert! The English said it about the Irish — just a few villages and bogs! Why not be honest? There were many people here, and they were kicked out. Period. I’m not suggesting that we alive today are responsible, or that we can fix it. But we can acknowledge it.

    And Dag, wherever did “shame” enter the discussion? No one should be ashamed to live here, or anywhere else for that matter. But an honest acceptance of the facts does not run counter to “pride”.

  37. I can’t hold a candle to Hitchens, Tud. And he would (and HAS) be the first to say so.

    But he’s really not at all the pompous ass he comes across as on TV. And I’m really not the pompous ass I come across as on Baristanet!

  38. Dank that is, thanks to the free market, sweeter than that Communist dank from Pyonyang.

  39. Well, croi, I happen to be much smarter in person than I am on Baristanet but I’m not nearly as biyatchy in real life.

    And bebop: Good one, hoochie coochie man!

  40. I appreciate the suggested reading, cro, but Jackson-era troubles with the natives aren’t really relevant here. Of course there were Native Americans kicking around when the nation was settled, of course they were “troublesome,” and of course the European settlers treated them horrifically. I’m not arguing that the nation is free of sin. I’m arguing that the Native Americans were pretty much done for from the git go.

    This is not my idea. I read the argument in 1491, by Charles Mann, which gives copious evidence that Native American populations were originally far greater and fell, due to imported European disease, more precipitously than previously thought. One scholar, I recall, believes the Andean population dropped more than 90 percent in the hundred years after Columbus sailed, and it wasn’t at the swords of the Conquistadors. The Incas never had a chance.

    I suppose it was the Europeans’ “fault” that they brought their diseases along with them, but they certainly didn’t do it intentionally. (See GUNS, GERMS and STEEL for a good explanation of why the Europeans were better prepared biologically than the Americans.)

  41. Walleroo, no one is arguing “fault” here. Why do you refer to it? Of course Europeans did not bring disease intentionally ( maybe that came later when the Americans handed out the smallpox infected blankets). They most certainly did, however, “intend” to exploit, enslave and despoil the native populations. This is just simple, non-judgmental historical fact.

    I read Mann’s book. His is an interesting argument. But it is just that — an argument. We will never really know how many people were here pre-contact, and scholars will go back and forth on this for many years to come. However, there is no evidence to suggest that Indians were “done for” in a survival sense. They weren’t going to win wars against better armed Europeans, but they were not eradicated despite the best efforts of some. Evidence of that can be found in modern-day Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, and even here in the United States.

  42. Yes, Mann’s is just an argument, with a bunch of supporting evidence. But you’re right, we’ll never have eyewitnesses. I’m happy to leave it there. Happy spring!

  43. Any serious argument has a bunch of supporting evidence. I’ll leave it there as well.

    Happy Pluto Day.

  44. I never saw it as a match, walleroo. Or a competition. I saw it as a discussion.

    Maybe that’s the root?

  45. I think it is the root.

    I once saw a performance of Cloven Kingdom, by the Paul Taylor Dance Company. It captured, like nothing but a dance could, the humor and absurdity of the male tendency to chest-puffing and territorial strutting. When I saw it, back in the 1980s, when I was a baby, I laughed so hard my wife thought the ushers would come and carry me out. I laughed until I had tears running down my face and my stomach cramped. The memory of it makes me giggle now.

  46. I’m not much for modern dance, and I’ve never seen the one you reference. I also have no idea how it has anything to do with the above exchange, but maybe I would had I seen it.

    However, to see a difference of opinion or, more accurately, a difference pertaining to the founding of this country as a pissing match or a competition is puzzling to me. I don’t expect to change anyone’s opinion when I post here, and more often than not mine is not changed by the postings of others. It is a chance to opine, to pontificate, to bloviate, etc. and that’s all. I really don’t need to make myself look good at your expense. I’m comfortable with how I walk in the world, as it were. For your sake, you appear to be a very bright guy with a good sense of humour and I cannot for the life of me imagine why you go so quickly from 0 to 100 in terms of attitude when “challenged”.

    In any event, its been a decent exchange and I’ll leave you to your pleasant memories of leotards and plies.

  47. It’s just that sometimes our exchanges remind me of that funny dance, is all. (I am including myself as a participant, by the way.)

    I remember the costumes being tuxedos, not leotards.

  48. I note the debate above about the survival of Amerinds in America between the always estimable walleroo and croiagusanam.

    Both, interestingly, while fond of citing numbers and source materials, ignore one obvious point about Indian tribes, that they often basically exterminated each other. The Mandans, for example, were subject to this fate. So were the Assiniboines (whose survivors were forced to move to Canada) and many other tribes. And even as we pushed westward, the Plains Indians lived in a well-known state of almost constant warfare with each other. This was so as late as 1876, the year of Custer’s debacle.

    Further, some Indian cultures simply disappeared. The people of the Poverty Point complex in LA, for example, no one has yet satisfactorily explained their seeming disappearance. Ditto for the builders of Mesa Verde and similar complexes.

    It isn’t right, in other words, to blame the plight of what Zane Grey termed “the Vanishing American” solely on the arrival of European settlers. The matter is far more complicated than that, and Amerinds themselves have to share some of the blame.

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