Foreign Policy Blogs

How to spend $1.37 billion donations?

The Japanese Red Cross Society and the Central Community Chest of Japan have received 115.5 billion yen ($1.37 billion) in relief funds for the victims of the Mar. 11 earthquake and tsunami as of Saturday.

While the central government has no say in how the funds are to be distributed, the government is drawing up recommendations on how the money can be distributed speedily. Prefectural governments have already had disagreements on how the money should be allocated.

I am not an expert in distributing funds, but I think everyone can agree that the money should go toward cleaning up the wreckage, providing medical assistance to people injured in the disaster, relieving those who’ve lost a relative, paying for damages not covered by insurance companies, compensating people who’ve lost their livelihoods.

Some are questioning if Japan really should rebuild. Most of the towns that were wiped out were small, dying towns from which most of the young people had already moved to larger cities in the region like Sendai or Tokyo. My fear is that the local governments, in the name of reconstruction and creating jobs, will simply do what they always do: construct massive public works projects. This will probably entail cementing over the few pieces of ground that don’t have cement already. (The current project in the town where I work, which wasn’t affected by the quake or tsunami, is cementing over the little patches of land between the roads and the already cement-banked rivers.)

The money should go to helping the earthquake victims directly. And dare I say if there’s money left over, it could be put toward another cause besides earthquake/tsunami recovery?



Dustin Dye

Dustin Dye is the author of the YAKUZA DYNASTY series, available through the Amazon Kindle.

He lived in Okayama, Japan, where he taught English at a junior high school through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program for three years. He is a graduate from the University of Kansas, where he received a bachelor's degree in anthropology.

His interest in Japan began in elementary school after seeing Godzilla fight Ghidorah, the three-headed monster. But it wasn't until he discovered Akira Kurosawa's films through their spaghetti Western remakes that he truly became fascinated in the people and culture of Japan.

He lives in Kansas with his wife, daughter and guinea pig.

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E-mail him: [email protected]