Why Did Americans Donate $730 million to Wealthy Japan?

Tom Paulson
March 11, 2014
Humanosphere

“Three years ago today, a massive earthquake off the coast of Japan spawned a tsunami that devastated communities, killed nearly 16,000 people (with some 2,600 still missing) and damaged nuclear power plants at Fukushima. The international aid and relief community responded with offers of assistance and a surge in fund-raising.

This was actually fairly controversial – partly because Japan is a rich nation capable of taking care of itself and also because the Japanese government initially asked the humanitarian community to not interfere with the disaster response.

On the third anniversary of the tragedy, the Japan Center for International Exchange has issued a report noting that Americans have given about $730 million to assist Japan in rebuilding and recovery – an amount that makes this ‘the largest philanthropic response ever in American history for an overseas disaster in another developed country.’ Shouldn’t we have directed that money elsewhere?”

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People offer a prayer for the victims in front of a make-shift cenotaph at an evacuation zone in Namie, Fukushima Prefecture Photo credit: The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images

Coverage of JCIE’s report on US giving for relief and recovery efforts after the Great East Japan Earthquake.