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Snooth User: dmcker

Japan: shocks and aftershocks, tsunami, lack of reach across a lengthy mountainous coastline, reactor meltdowns, poor governmental info flow, and more...

Posted by dmcker, Mar 13, 2011.

In January 2010 I started a thread for relief to Haiti. This time it's a little more personal because I'm going through a major disaster myself, from day one (or the precursor shocks several days before day one). Japan is not Haiti, helpless before any disaster, nor Sumatra and surrounding nations in the face of that horrendous tsunami back in December 2004. Yet....

I grew up in California accustomed to earthquakes, spent decades in this country, and have been in other parts of the rim of fire during bad seismic events. But this one, in my experience anyway, is well in a class of its own. 9.0 off the coast, over 6 in the part of Tokyo where I was, tens of thousands of people still missing without even knowing what's happened to several trains, one particular town, etc., etc. Not to mention six nuclear reactors within reach of Tokyo on emergency (disaster) status, two already going through some sort of meltdown that the government is reluctant to discuss in any real way. 

Japan likes to be self sufficient, and has done a better job than any other nation of getting ready for this type of event, but the size and speed and scope of this are just plain overwhelming. The infrastructure, and even more the invidividual people in dire straights, can use help from overseas, bigtime. Even if the government doesn't want to admit it.

I've been concerned about taking care of family and friends and company members, preparing contingency plans in case the reactors in Fukushima really go in the wrong direction, and haven't been able to focus yet on which are the best charities already working in Japan. But if anyone wants to contribute, the Red Cross would be an excellent place to start. I'll be posting here when I encounter others worthy of mention.


BTW, here's the previous Haiti post. 



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Reply by Degrandcru, Mar 13, 2011.

dmcker, I hope you and your family are well. Could you give us a more detailed update about the situation in Tokyo. Just following the news which reports that the situation in Tokyo is pretty calm (considering the situation). I wish you all the best and especially hope that the reactor situation gets under control quickly.

Reply by Andrew46, Mar 14, 2011.

I hope that you, your family and friends can stay safe and bounce back quickly.  Is your wine OK, or did you lose some?

Reply by hhotdog, Mar 14, 2011.

can't even imagine how overwhelming this must be for you and those close to you.  i wish you and everyone in your circle well and hope all is safe where you are located.  the reports are all over the place and not sure what to believe?  it just goes to show how vulnerable we all are to natures fury.  just a very scary situation to say the least. if you have the chance let us know you are ok from time to time. take care my snooth friend and God bless.








Reply by JonDerry, Mar 14, 2011.

Catastrophic beyond any measure, so glad you're still with us DM, and godspeed for a return to stability.

Reply by outthere, Mar 14, 2011.

Please keep us in the loop so we can help as best we can. Such a tragedy. All American hearts go out to the people of Japan. Stay safe friend.

Reply by napagirl68, Mar 14, 2011.

Dmcker.. thanks for posting here.  Red cross is a wonderful agency (I have found out, through both recent research and talking to my aunt, who was a victim (though not any fatalities in her case) in the San Bruno gas explosion.  She also experience a mudslide there a few years back.. She said they were AMAZING.  I would highly recommend donating to Red Cross.

I hear the rad levels have reached the human hazard level...   wonder if you should vacate if possible.  I agree with you after all my readings... you are NOT getting the full story from that govt.  

Stay safe, as outthere says.  And you can always come visit your old stomping grounds :-)

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Mar 15, 2011.

D - Hope the radiation issue does not get out of hand, news reports somewhat volatile in this par tof the world.

News from our Japanese practice is that all of our people are safe and accounted for as with all expats also accounted for.

The Global firm has already rallied the respective member firm Foundations to start receiving donations for assistance programmes.  I suspect it will end up with the Red Cross.

Been a bizarre year in the approx Aust/NZ/Japan longitude with major floods and Cyclone issues here, Christchurch being almost wiped out by an Earthquake and now Japan.

Maybe mother earth is sending us a message?

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Mar 15, 2011.

D - Our Foundation in Aust has set up a relationship with Red Cross for donations to assist any Japanese relief efforts

Reply by Richard Foxall, Mar 16, 2011.

dmcker: Let us know how things are going.  The news this morning was not very encouraging.  Lots of Snoothers are concerned, I'm sure.  News that people in Tokyo are being told to stay inside is troubling.  Hard to imagine that we are getting the whole story.

I'd be really impressed if Snooth set up an auction of wine or worked some arrangements to direct proceeds from sales generated from the site to relief in Japan, just for one idea.  But, for everyone, don't wait:  Although Japan is a wealthy country, immediate assistance by international aid groups will have to be paid up front, so contact any relief agency you trust that is sending assistance.  American Red Cross, Doctors without Borders (Medicin sans Frontieres) and others are leaping into the breach.

Reply by jamessulis, Mar 16, 2011.

dmcker: Hope all gets better for you and yours very soon.  This event is one that nobody can fathom but when it actually happens the mental terror and physical damage is unreal.  I'm sure the government knows more but is reluctant to cause any mass pandemonium with her people and cause further confusion and injury. At the same time I'm wishful that the Japanese government along with some of the greatest minds and fastest actions will help prevent a meltdown. Until the situation is resolved all peoples of the world are greatly concerned for the citizens and visitors in Japan. I pray that things will be under control soon.


Reply by zufrieden, Mar 16, 2011.

When the news hit, I immediately thought of your situation in Tokyo.I greatly appreciate the wonderful past discussions we've had both public and private, and though some distractions have kept me away from these pages of late, I sincerely hope you and those closest to you are safe and remain so.  Hopefully, things will stabilize shortly.

Best wishes,


Reply by Lucha Vino, Mar 17, 2011.

D - I can't say much more than has already been said.  Prayers to you and your friends, family and all of Japan for safety and comfort.  Stay safe.


Reply by Philip James, Mar 17, 2011.

DM - Thanks for posting that here. Our thoughts are with everyone in Japan. Look after yourself.


Reply by dmcker, Mar 18, 2011.

Thanks, everyone, for the very kind words. I'll post a report when I have more time.

Have sent my family west to the island of Kyushu and will be relocating from Tokyo to Kyoto from tomorrow, at least to the end of next week. That should be plenty far enough away.

Not enough good info coming from the Japanese government and power utility on the status of things at Fukushima Daiichi. Hopefully things will get better in that regard.

In the meantime, I'll stand by my words about the Red Cross being the charity of first resort. Doctors Without Borders which Foxall mentions is also always excellent, as I've found from working with them elsewhere.


Reply by Richard Foxall, Mar 18, 2011.

dmcker--thanks for the update.  Relocating sounds prudent.  Pretty clear that the Japanese government is not in agreement with the rest of the regulatory community.  I wonder if the US nuclear authorities are being completely forthcoming, but our independent universities and press are so far concurring that the risk to the West Coast of the US is negligible. 

Reply by napagirl68, Mar 18, 2011.

dmcker... thinking about you... glad you have moved out of Tokyo.  Email/post when you can, and my offer always stands :-)

Take good care.  And, yes, red cross is the best I have found so far.

SNOOTH- can we arrange a fund raising here???  This is a horrendeous event, and I think everyone needs to step up.  JMO.

Reply by dmcker, Mar 29, 2011.

I'm currently back in Tokyo (most of my family is still down to the southwest) but monitoring the situation at Fukushima Daiichi regularly. Lots of potential still there for havoc, but Tokyo seems to be holding up well.

Regarding donations, and with the aim of getting the money directly to where it's most needed, contact was made to the Fukushima Prefectural government. At the moment these seem like the best options:


1) Donate to the Fukushima Branch of the Japan Red Cross (which can be done through the US Red Cross, theoretically, or through the bank account for the Japan Red Cross below).

2) Donate directly to the Fukushima Welfare Bureau, or similar functions in Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures (see below).



Japanese Red Cross Society / Japan Earthquake Donation

Name of Bank: Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation
Name of Branch: Ginza
Bank Account No: 8047670

Beneficiary’s Name: The Japanese Red Cross Society
Beneficiary’s Address: 1-1-3 Shiba-Daimon Minato-ku, Tokyo, 105-8521, Japan
Telephone +81-3-3438-1311

If your national society doesn’t collect donation or you wish to send your donations directly to the Japanese Red Cross Society, please direct your fund to the above bank account.

If you need a receipt for your funds, please state so clearly in the comments section of the bank transfer order.

All funds received under this account will be transferred to the Distribution Committee, which is formed around the local government of the disaster-affected prefecture and to be distributed directly among the affected population of earthquake and tsunami.


Fukushima Prefecture Disaster Relief

Name of Bank: Japan Post Bank

Name of Branch: Head Office

Bank Account No: 00160-30533

Intermediary Bank: Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas NY


Beneficiary’s Name: Fukushimaken Saigaitaisakuhonbu

Beneficiary’s Address: Social Welfare Division, Fukushima Prefecture, 2-16, Sugitsuma-cho, Fukushima City, 960-8670, Japan

Telephone: +81-24-521-7182 (International Affairs)

To send donations to Fukushima Prefectual Government, intermediary bank information is required. In this case, the designated intermediary bank is Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas NY. And its SWIFT code is BKTRU33.


Miyagi Prefecture Disaster Relief

In Los Angeles area, the Nanka Miyagi Kenjin Kai (Miyagi Prefecture Association of Southern California) is accepting donation to send directly to Miyagi Prefectural Government.

Checks may be payable to the Nanka Miyagi Kenjinkai, 344 East Riggin Street, Monrerey Park, CA 91755. Memo line should be written as Tohoku Earthquake Refief.

When the donation will be sent to Miyagi, Japan, all donors list also will be sent. A copy of receipt by Miyagi Prefectural Government will be sent to all donors.

For more information, contact Mr. Yoshihito Yonezawa at (323) 721-8523


Iwate Prefecture Disaster Relief Charity Committee

Name of Bank: The Bank of Iwate, Ltd

Name of Branch: Kencho Branch

Bank Account No: 009-2016634


Beneficiary’s Name: Iwate Prefecture Disaster Relief Charity Committee

Beneficiary’s Address: Office of Health and Welfare Planning, Iwate Prefectural Government, 10-1 Uchimaru, Morioka City, 020-8570, Japan

Telephone: +81-19-629-5408

Fax:           +81-19-629-5419


Distribution of Donation: Along with the Disaster Relief Charity Committee, a separate committee will be formed to decide the distribution of the fund.

If you need a receipt for your donation, send your request to the committee by postal mail, fax or email.


Reply by Stephen Harvey, Mar 30, 2011.

D - Consistent with above our Toyko office is co-ordinating our global contribution through the Japanese Red Cross

Hopefully the Power plant issue settles down soon

Reply by dmcker, Mar 30, 2011.

Frankly, I wish they'd bite the bullet and write the entire Fukushima Daiichi plant off, and use PSI technology from Switzerland or plain old sand and cement and bury the thing. Four of the reactors are total losses, but not five or six at this point.

Big investment decision that has to be overseen by the government, since Tepco will never do the right thing. By allowing last ditch efforts (finger in the dike analogy anyone?) to continue on indefinitely, they're also allowing too many radioactive isotopes to escape into the groundwater and air, and utlimately threatening many lives. Trying to save a plant with two remaining reactors seems too skimpy in weight for what's on the other side of the scales. Basic problem is a government that's not well integrated with the bureaucracy, a utility that's never been properly regulated, and a traditional consensus-based decisionmaking process that isn't nimble enough during crises.

Oh yeah, don't get me started... ;-(

Reply by dmcker, Mar 30, 2011.

Also forgot to mention that Doctors Without Borders (Medecins sans Frontieres, or MSF) is doing a great job up there, too, especially dealing with stress and other psychological issues hitting the aged and other forced-homeless hard. Foxall had already pointed to them but I wanted to reiterate after hearing good things about how they're helping in these contexts.

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