Donations to Japan Quake Relief Efforts Trickling In

Even as efforts to provide assistance to a stricken Japan in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the island nation on Friday continued, the crisis at the country's Fukushima nuclear power complex worsened and aftershocks measuring 6.1 and 6.2 on the Richter scale rattled the Tokyo region on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reports.

On Monday, in partnership with the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army, the UPS Foundation pledged $1 million in in-kind transportation assistance, humanitarian logistics personnel, and financial support for relief and recovery efforts, while the Starbucks Foundation and Starbucks Coffee Japan announced a gift of ¥100 million (approximately $1.2 million) to the American Red Cross. On Tuesday, the Red Cross announced an initial contribution of $10 million to its partner, the Japanese Red Cross Society, which has been distributing water and blankets to people in the tsunami-devastated region, including more than two hundred thousand people evacuated from areas near the damaged nuclear complex.

The high-tech industry has also stepped up, the International Business Times reports. Organizers of the annual SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, set up a Web site over the weekend to help conference attendees create their own fundraising pages as well as donate to the American Red Cross. Elsewhere, Apple has added a donations page to its iTunes store, and Google CEO Eric Schmidt and his wife, Wendy, have pledged to match the first $100,000 donated to Citizen Effect and Twitpay/RT2Give.

As of midday Tuesday, GlobalGiving — which is working with the International Medical Corps, Save the Children, and other groups on the ground — reported on its site that more than 14,000 people had donated a total of nearly $900,000 to relief and recovery efforts, including $200,000 from the Gap Foundation.

In the absence of a mechanism enabling the Japanese government to receive donations from the United States, the New York City-based Japan Society has created an earthquake relief fund at the request of the Japanese consulate. Long accustomed to being a donor country, Japan initially rejected offers of international assistance after the 1995 Kobe earthquake, but has been less reticent in the wake of the multiple disasters that have hit the country since Friday. Japan Society president Motoatsu Sakurai told the New York Times that the willingness to accept aid from abroad was a positive sign. "It is very good for Japanese people to realize that Japan is not alone on the Earth. When you put yourself in the other side's shoes, you realize the importance of being on the receiving side as well as on the giving side."

Clyde Haberman. "For Japanese, Learning to Receive." New York Times 03/14/2011. "American Red Cross Contributes an Initial $10 Million to Assist Japan's Earthquake and Tsunami Survivors." American Red Cross Press Release 03/15/2011. "UPS Pledges US$1 Million for Japan Earthquake Relief." UPS Press Release 03/14/2011. Sean Michaels. "Lady Gaga Launches Fundraiser for Japan Crisis." Guardian 03/15/2011. "Starbucks to Contribute ¥100 Million to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Relief Efforts." Starbucks Foundation Press Release 03/15/2011. Samyuktha Krishnappa. "Relief for Japan Pours in From Tech and Entertainment Worlds." International Business Times 03/14/2011.