Japan Relief Fund

Japan Relief Fund

Japan Society’s thoughts and prayers are with the people in the Tohoku region of Japan who have been affected by the magnitude-7.3 earthquake that struck the region on February 13, 2021.

We continue to stand by and support the people in Tohoku as we reflect on their resiliency and recovery efforts ten years after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.


If you would like to make a donation to support Tohoku, the Japanese Consulate in New York is currently accepting donations.

Disaster Relief Funds established by Japan Society

Beginning with the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund for the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake that struck Japan on March 11, 2011, Japan Society has established three disaster relief funds to do our part in supporting the victims of natural disasters that Japan is particularly prone to. Japan Society would like to express our sincere condolences and sympathies to all those who have been affected, and continue to send our prayers to those who have lost loved ones and those who have been displaced.

The funds below have provided crucial support in the recovery and reconstruction efforts of many communities that have since faced additional challenges and setbacks from additional natural disasters and the spread of COVID-19. Together with the fund recipients, we extend our heartfelt appreciation to all the donors for their generous contribution to these efforts.

To read more about the organizations and projects that have received the support of these funds, please check our Relief Fund Recipients page.

The Japan Earthquake Relief Fund (JERF)

Japan Society created JERF on March 12, 2011, the day after the Great East Japan Earthquake struck Japan at 2:46pm on March 11, 2011 and devastated the northeastern region of Japan. The magnitude 9.0 earthquake was the world’s fourth largest earthquake since 1900, and became a tripe disaster including a massive tsunami and and a nuclear accident in Fukushima, resulting in over 15,500 deaths and $220 billion damages.

More than 24,600 donors from all 50 states in the United States and 55 countries around the world. Japan Society was able to raise over $14.1 million, which was the 7th largest amount raised by the U.S. non-profit sector, and ranked the top among U.S. non-profit organizations that do not specialize in emergency relief and assistance work.

In the past 10 years, JERF donations have supported more than 45 organizations and 65 projects. The grants went toward aid organizations providing emergency relief and recovery assistance in the earlier years, and more recently toward projects supporting mid- to long-term reconstruction efforts and nurturing the next generation of leaders in the disaster-hit region, including projects providing mental and psychological care, re-building and revitalizing communities, promoting entrepreneurship, and supporting education and the arts.

As we approached 10 years after the triple disaster in 2020-2021, Japan Society has earmarked the remaining funds to support several additional projects that facilitate community-building and economic recovery in disaster-hit areas where challenges have become further complicated and exacerbated by the onset of the global pandemic.

2016 Kumamoto Earthquake Relief Fund

The fund was established on April 18, 2016 after a series of earthquakes with epicenters around Kumamoto city took place on April 14-16, 2016 and caused extensive damage in the Kyushu region.

2019 Typhoon Hagibis Relief Fund

The fund was established on October 16, 2019 to aid the survivors of the powerful typhoon that struck Japan on October 12. The hardest-hit areas included, but were not limited to, Fukushima, Ibaraki, Miyagi, and Nagano.

Funds Raised

  • 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake: 24,630+ (donations received); $14,144,000+ (total gift amount)
  • 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake: 640+ (donations received); $343,330+ (total gift amount)
  • 2019 Typhoon Hagibis: 265+ (donations received); $44,860+ (total gift amount) (as of December 31, 2020)

Remaining donations are being earmarked to support additional grant projects. We will be closing the funds after completing disbursements of these final set of grants. We thank all the donors who have contributed to these funds.

Remembering 3.11: New Video Series & Archives

To mark the 10th year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, Japan Society is producing a number of short videos to document the events of the disaster, American and Japanese experiences, and the history and impact of JERF.

Please check out below for videos featuring: six interviews with leaders from Japan and the United States in a variety of fields on their responses and lessons-learned from the disaster; testimonials from JERF grant recipients who discuss their projects supported by JERF and their hope for the future; an interview with Ambassador Motoatsu Sakurai, then-President of Japan Society who led the establishment of JERF; and a series of three dialogues between Japanese social entrepreneurs from Tohoku who participated in JERF projects and their American counterparts from New Orleans, LA and Wilmington, OH to exchange their ideas and lessons-learned in leading recovery efforts in their respective communities.


Click here for additional videos chronicling the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund's efforts.
Image: © 国土地理院 - Wikimedia Commons (Source).

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