The Japanese Red Cross Society recently released a summary of countries and territories that sent donations (as of the end of 2012) to the organization following the Great East Japan Earthquake. Topping the list were the United States and Taiwan, number one and two respectively, with donations in excess of 2.9 billion yen (approx. US$29 million) each. A total of 22.7 billion yen was received from 179 countries and territories, including from among the world’s poorest nations. Drawing the attention of some Netizens was the fact that neighboring South Korea failed to make the top 20.
It should be noted that the summary drawn up by the Red Cross represents an aggregate of donations that directly supported victims through local governments and is different from relief funds devoted to the activities of the Red Cross itself.
Though Japan has no diplomatic relations with Taiwan, the government received the donation as “special aid” according to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga. China donated a little over 900 million yen, which puts it in 5th place; however, if that amount was added together with donations from Hong Kong it would total over 1.6 billion yen, moving China to 4th place behind Thailand.
Of the 49 UN-designated least developed countries, 30 donated a total of 600 million yen. Among those, Bangladesh donated the most with 160 million yen, followed by Afghanistan with a donation of 100 million and Bhutan and East Timor who made contributions of 90 million each. Aid was also received from 17 African countries.
Regarding donations from poor countries, the Japanese Red Cross noted, “(The donations) are a way for those countries to say thanks to Japan for previous assistance they received from us in the form of ODA and relief aid in times of natural disaster.” The donations probably also include money from Japanese living in those countries.
The top 20 donating countries are:
1. U.S.: 2.99 billion yen
2. Taiwan: 2.92 billion
3. Thailand 2.05 billion
4. Oman 1.07 billion
5. China 910 million
6. Algeria 830 million
7. U.K. 780 million
8. Vietnam 780 million
9. Hong Kong 720 million
10. France 610 million
11. Switzerland 550 million
12. Malaysia 510 million
13. India 480 million
14. Brazil 480 million
15. Papa New Guinea 320 million
16. Singapore 310 million
17. Australia 300 million
18. Mongolia 290 million
19. Philippine 290 million
20. Italy 270 million
Not going unnoticed by people posting on bulletin boards was the fact that South Korea was not among the top-20 donors.
“Ah, that neighboring country of ours has failed to crack the top 20.”
“Thanks everybody, expect that country.”
“Wow, China donated quite a bit. The standards of its people surpass those of South Korea.”
Overseas donations are pooled with those received domestically and distributed to 15 prefectures that suffered as a result of the earthquake. The Japanese Red Cross Society will continue to collect donations until the end of March 2014.