Don't Get Me Wrong But -- Should I Really Donate For Japan Quake?

I know and work with a lot of people in Japan. Fortunately after a flurry of messages they’re okay if shaken (eh).

So I saw on Google, and got from a number of Japanese trade organizations whose mailing list I’m on, links to the Red Cross, etc. to give money.

Now, it’s a horrible tragedy. And I gave money after the big tsunami. So it’s not like I don’t care.

But . . . is there really a need here?

I mean, in the first instance, the very organized and prepared Japanese emergency services are on the scene. The Self-Defense forces are mobilized (may as well go all-in as they’re not really otherwise allowed to do anything on the military side). The Americans are sending lots of military support/resources. All good things. Japanese citizens are being encouraged to leave it to the professionals as far as searching for survivors. Community organizations, schools, individual houses, are being made available to displaced residents.

So is it really hard-hearted to say – nothing against the Red Cross, but what can/will they add to the scene? I don’t know the exact logistics of what they can get done on the ground in Japan (somewhat infamously, IIRC, the Japanese authorities were really insistent on self-reliance after Kobe 1995, resisting even American military help in a way that may have hindered rescues, etc. – it seems at least as to military help, they’ve learned the lesson, but will they allow/want American or international relief organizations to take a leading role?). Is there any evidence that more outside boots on the ground are needed/would not just lead to everyone stepping on each other?

I’m just getting a different feel here than for Indonesia or Haiti, where there was no hint of an organized and sophisticated local capability to respond, so flooding the region with materiel, money, and personnel was a no-brainer (not that it led to perfect results to hear tell). I just wonder whether in the world’s third largest economy which has effectively unlimited governmental resources to respond financially, and can draw on well-organized safety services manpower from unaffected areas of the country and from the U.S. military, there is really any additive role that outside financial aid could play (I mean, I guess we could use it to replenish the Japanese government budget, but that hardly seems compelling for most of us). No one’s going to go without food or clean water or shelter (or, not for any longer than they would absent my $100, once the initial disruption is worked through).

Full disclosure – I probably will send the Red Cross a little donation because, well, they do good work. But is there any argument that flooding the Red Cross with donations (other than being a Good Thing to do in general, and a symbolic show of sympatahy when we can’t do much else to help the victims) will lead to any significant acceleration of the rate at which the victims/affected region are made safe and sound, or the thoroughness of the recovery?

When a major disaster hits, charity organizations in unrelated parts of the world often see a dip in donations because so many donors are focusing only on that disaster. So why not instead donate to a good cause that works somewhere else. I would suggest Food for the Poor.

The actual dollar that you give won’t see the front lines. During emergencies, these service organizations use the opportunity to raise money that is often used on the next situation. In major situations like this that last a long time, some current funds may make it through, especially if you designate a destination.

However, my view is that if a person gives for the wrong reasons, it’s bad Karma for the giver. So when it doubt, don’t. I suggest you wait and chose an organization, time and reason that feels more right to you. Maybe some local people will be left out in the cold after a house fire. You could help the people out more directly through the Salvation Army and feel better about it.

I agree with what the other posters said, in America we still have homeless people, people who can’t afford their meds, people who need help. Why divert funds from one rich nation to another.

OK if you need technical help, like with the nuclear reactor or fireman that are experts, by all means send them and help.

Japan is a very rich nation and to me, it makes little sense.

It would be kind of like saying, “I will let my brother go without his meds, to give the same meds to a stranger”

Historically very little of the money you donate ever makes it through anyway, but people feel they want to help, so I can understand them doing so.

But you’d be better off donating money to help the earthquake victims in Haiti, which years later is still suffering, rather than in Japan, which is modern, industrialized and well equipped to cope.

As I said, it’s just human nature to want to help people when you see it.

Jinx. I was just thinking – Japan (plus U.S. military help) will, with no other help, be back to normal or as close as possible long, long, before Haiti even with a ton of help to Haiti. So giving money “for Japan” will IMHO lead to (a) assume entirely sincere motives on behalf of aid agency – lead to duplicative/quickly-diminishing-return provision of lots of resources/people that Japan doesn’t really need and that don’t appreciably speed up recovery (we’ve gradually figured this out by tempering the urge people used to have to send a bunch of canned goods everytime there’s a disater – I remember reading after 9/11 about how much essentially-unneeded bottled water, etc. good Samaritans sent to New York, and how much time/money was wasted transporting/storing it); (b) assume well-meaning but Machiavellian/manipulative charities – allow them to boost donations “for Japan” because it’s the latest and greatest, but then divert to the real needy cases (Haiti) – which leaves a bad taste; © exploit Japan’s woes to collect money that may not end up helping much of anyone except the collecting organization.

I suspect that some of this, even among the basically well-intentioned, comes from the progressive instinct to “just do something” and from cause-fatigue (Haiti isn’t drawing in the donations, maybe this video of tsunamis will).

So you were shaken by the news, but not necessarily stirred to action?

Off topic a little but we have had severe flooding in one of our States. People donated and now the Federal Govt has announced a “flood levy” (read tax) to pay for damage.

So we end up paying anyway. And in one fell swoop the Govt has killed all future voluntary donations because people will think they will be hit by a tax anyway.

Re the original point I wouldn’t donate for the reasons outlined above Plus I am always dubious about where any donation ends up going.

I’d find it easier to contribute to things like this if there were no problems at home. But I see the homeless everywhere, most working people are one accident from being homeless, the Koori population has it very hard and last year World Vision asked me to help out with poverty in the US.

World Vision and about the US they say:

“Did you know that two thirds of the people living in poverty in our country work more than one job just to make ends meet? Forty percent of the poor are children, elderly or disabled. And then there are those forced into poverty by situations such as illness, divorce, and job loss. Shame and fear of judgment can paralyze those in real poverty. Please donate now to help children and their families caught in these situations.”

Japan, the Japanese, the Yen, are richer, financially and economically stronger, than most all other peoples in the world.

What it really comes down to, is what country you are from, and whether or not “you” are able to donate anything. If you are from a country that is hugely in debt and on the verge of bankruptcy (United States, England, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Iceland, Italy) then you really are not in a position to give anything.

For example, it would make no sense at all for any American to borrow even more than they do now from china for the purpose of giving it away. Also, any person anywhere (from any country) who is personally on welfare or charity, should not be giving away anything. If you are on welfare, or on food stamps, or on unemployment, or on SSDI, or on SSI, etc then you should not even be thinking about giving away someone else’s money.

Giving away money borrowed from someone else is not a good thing, it is a** bad** thing, and doing so is unethical and immoral. Much worse than “the blind leading the blind”.

If you support the Red Cross in general, it makes sense to continue supporting them. Whatever work they are doing there is going to deplete their funding reserves, and they will need to build it back up for the next emergency- which may be in a less prosperous place.

There are also groups working with specific demographics in Japan that may not be sharing the wealth. There are the elderly, poor single parents, and disadvantaged groups of all types. They can use support just as much as any poor American could.

I just made a donation at their site, and you can select where to direct your donation. I didn’t read the fine print or anything, but it would seem that they should honor that choice. If you can afford to donate, just do it; whatever charity you choose.

A lot of nations have donated money to the US for disasters like Hurricane Katrina. I don’t know whether Japan in particular did, but I would assume so. If you want, donate to the general fund for aid charities like the Red Cross, and they can choose where money is needed at any particular time.

I’ve read that the Japanese aren’t as keen on donating blood - so maybe go give some blood if you can. It doesn’t cost anything, and even though it may not actually go to Japan, it might fill a local need. Everyone wins!

Meh, charity is a pretty popular thing hereabouts, and plenty of people will be donating money even though we’re not in the best shape financially anymore.
I actually can’t imagine how we could even recover from a similar disaster.

Why donate? Because Japan gave millions in aid after Hurricane Katrina, routinely sends a lot of aid around the world, and it’s only fair to reciprocate now that they have been hit by a disaster. They may be rich, but there are serious food and water shortages and hundreds of thousands displaced and it sure sounds like they could use some help. They have already asked for supplies and rescue teams and fortunately it seems like the world community is rising to the occasion.

I’m inclined to think that Japan is perfectly capable enough and rich enough to take care of the disaster on their own. I’m also inclined to think that the U.S. can (and should!) help in kind, with rescue teams, emergency food and water, and so on, that are already on site or that can be provided and that I have already paid for (or will pay for) with my taxes. I certainly support that.

I’ll admit that my personal money would, if donated to Japan, do a lot more good that my previous donations to Haiti. I could depend on its being used for the purpose I donated it for. Nevertheless . . .

I can’t personally donate money to every disaster that comes down the pike. If Adolf Busch’s house burns down, I’m not going to send him donations. If my co-worker that is an administrative assistant single mom’s house burns down, I will certainly write her a check. Same thing as far as I’m concerned.

The government of Japan offered $200,000 to the Red Cross, and $300,000 in emergency supplies (tents, food, etc.) to the U.S. government .

Millions of yen, not dollars, I guess. :slight_smile:

Basically, I would agree with that.

The disaster total so far is at 100 billion dollars. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but it’s not cheap. In any case, the attitude in this thread that because Japan is a developed nation somehow means it does not need our help is really fucking sickening. Sure, you don’t have to feel obligated, but starving and homeless people are starving and homeless people. Grrr…