Thursday, March 31, 2011

Evacuees moved from Saitama Super Arena

We published a post a few days ago about items required at the Saitama Super Arena. As you probably already know, the evacuees have been moved to a school in Kazo, Saitama. If we get more information about what relief items they need and how to send it to them, we will make an update. Please don't send any items to the Super Arena.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Stops Taking Donations

On March 21st, we wrote that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government was accepting personal donations of material aid. It seems that they stopped accepting donations at 4 pm on March 27th. They have received more donations than they can store or deliver at the moment. They are hoping to start accepting material donations again in the future.
I have removed them from our list of places to send material aid donations.

Volunteer Opportunity in Sendai Area

Hope International, is an NGO founded in 1975. Like many organizations, it is making a difference in the quake and tsunami struck areas of North-East Japan.

Hope International has an immediate need for volunteers to help with dispersing goods from the Sendai area. They need volunteers starting from this Wednesday, March 30th, for a minimum duration of 3 days to maximum 1 week, to help with dispersing goods that are being shipped to the area. Volunteers should have the following qualifications:
- Bilingual (English and Japanese)
- Have held a co-ordination or logistics role in the past
- Hold a Japanese driver’s license
- Are team players and can work under pressure
If you are available and would like to volunteer, please send your resume, timeframe during which you could be available, and a letter stating why you would like to volunteer to

In the coming months, cleanup crews will also be needed to help remove rubbish and rubble from the tsunami and quake stricken area. If you would like to help in this capacity, non-Japanese speakers welcome, please send an email to with Cleanup Crew in the Subject line.

Thank you in advance to all volunteers, now and in the future, that are helping to relieve and rebuild the country we live in!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Items Needed at Saitama Super Arena

Lino Harada, a member of Foreign Volunteers Japan, was at the Saitama Super Arena today doing some translation work. She snapped these pictures of posters requesting items. The items needed are:

Instant soup, backpacks, bags, face lotion, paper cups, boxes of tissues, Tiger Balm/medicated compresses ("shippu"), instant congee, intant noodles, coffee, duct tape, canned drinks, belts for men, UNUSED sweat pants, jeans for men, thermoses, heat packs, snacks, soap, toothbrushes, batteries, NEW underwear, tupperware, adult shoes, markers, eco bags, fabreeze, cleaning supplies, sewing kits

As mentioned in the post below, before you rush out and send these items to a donation center, please make sure they are accepting them. For example, not all donation centers are accepting clothing at the moment. Of course, if you live in Saitama and can deliver some of these items directly to the Super Arena, the folks there would be sure to get them.

Recap: Donating Material Aid in Tokyo

Some places in Tokyo accepting material donations:

Second Harvest Japan

Second Harvest Japan Disaster Relief Food Drive
Mizuta bldg 1F Asakusabashi 4-5-1, Taito-ku, Tokyo


Phone: 03-3838-3827

Site: (English) (Japanese)

Tokyo International School

TIS Disaster Relief Supplies 3-4-22 Mita, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0073


Phone: 090 6569-7038

Site: (English)今、みんなでできる事/ (Japanese)

Peace Boat

Peace Boat Center Tokyo

B1, 3-13-1 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku, Tokyo 169-0075, Japan


Phone: 03-3362-6307

Site: (English) (Japanese)


  • Before sending donations to any of the above, please read the information on the corresponding web site. All the donation centers have their own restrictions about what they will and won't accept. They also have requirements for how to package items.
  • In general, remember that if you put only one category of items (Baby care goods, Health care goods, Food, etc.) into a box and label it with the exact contents, it saves the volunteers at the center a lot of work sorting and repackaging donations.
  • If possible, please label the contents in Japanese. Even though there are foreign volunteers at some of the centers listed, if the box has been properly packed it may be sent as is to the evacuation centers. It will make life easier for Japanese volunteers in Tohoku if they don't need to open the box to find out what it is.
  • No matter how good your intentions, or what you have heard is needed at evacuation centers, please do not donate any items which are not listed as acceptable. The centers will have to sort these items out and likely just end up disposing of them.
  • I have listed telephone numbers for some of the donation centers, but please do not call them unless it is a real emergency. They need their phone lines open for other communications.

FVJ Interviews Beau Retallick

Beau Retallick, an independent relief worker, recently returned from the disaster zone in Tohoku. He shares very valuable information about the situation on the ground there.

While Foreign Volunteers Japan has been working hard to get supplies up to the tsunami-affected areas, there are many other groups, both small and large, and some courageous individuals as well who spearheaded relief efforts with their own DIY solution.

Part 1:

Fundraising Concert for Tsunami Relief

Thank you so much to all those that gave their time to attend our concert meeting and those that wanted to come but couldn't make it. - Absolutely great feedback from the meeting - We now have - Security, PR, comms, Artist liaisons, big name sponsors, press, digital media, Graphic design, video & motion graphics, merchandizing, artists and a whole lot more pledged for free! - a couple of possible venues as well! Please follow up on your commitments and pledges and enjoy the ride! its going to be hard work, great fun and most importantly give back to the people of this great country that we choose to call home.

Part two after the break: 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

On the way to Ishinomaki!

Okay! We made it up safely, and we distributed 7000 bottles of water, dozens of boxes of diapers, healthy snack foods, and an assortment of donations to a distribution venue hosted by PeaceBoat up in Ishinomaki. This time, the water will be distributed to the earthquake and tsunami survivors trapped in mountain towns who cannot get out due to destroyed infrastructure and possibly even emotional trauma. 

     Today we heard that it is difficult to get supplies to those people, because in Japan the law apparently forbids air drops of supplies by helicopters!!(;゜0゜)
 However, Peace Boat and Red Cross Japan have been brainstorming several methods to get the water out to these people. They've already helped out countless thousands of people, and will continue doing so far a while. 

One of our goals from here is to build a closer relationship with communities on the ground, and we've made a few contacts in Ishinomaki city in Miyagi. It was terribly, terribly hit by the disaster. I will post more on that tomorrow. Today the crew drove 1100 kilometers on 3.5 hours sleep each the night before, so our reports and photo editing will be done tomorrow. 

Thanks again for all of your support and assistance! It's very much appreciated, and is beginning to help those in the most devastated areas in Japan. Thank you!!! 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tokyo Metropolitan Government accepts donations

Tokyo Metropolitan Government accepts donations for those who affected by the quake/ tsunami in Tohoku from citizens live in Tokyo. Please note they limit variety of goods they accept as is seen below.

1. Baby Care Goods
cooling gel patches, paper diapers (any size), baby wipes, baby lotion, baby powder, baby oil, baby food, baby formula, feeding bottles

2. Elderly Care Goods
paper diapers, care wipes, food thickeners

3. Health Care Goods
contact lens solution, contact lens cases, disposable heat packs, sanitary napkins, paper cups, paper plates, WARIBASHI, cling wraps

4. Drinking Water
bottled water, bottled tea (soda is not accepted)

First Shipment Successful

DSC_0074 by Foreign Volunteers Japan
DSC_0074 a photo by Foreign Volunteers Japan on Flickr.

Hi All,

The first shipment of canned beans, pineapple juice, diapers, sanitary items, and many other daily essentials was a success.

The team managed to prepare enough gasoline for a round trip (thanks for jerry cans!), secure the essential permits and documents for entering the restricted area, communicate smoothly with local governments in the area of need, and take several photos of the process!

As you might imagine, the whole team was really exhausted after making it back into Tokyo. I'm uploading this initial photo without knowing all of the details of their trip, but assure you that the team members (Thank you Steven, Dan, Trevor and crew!) will be updating you on their efforts, and their impressions sometime tomorrow!

I want to send a big thank you out to Ikon-Europubs for their tremendous support and generous donation! They not only provide the storage space and pick-up area for our drop-off center, they also provided our first two vehicles and gas for the first trip!! We couldn't have done it without you!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Tokyo IS Support Drop Center

(Editor's note: The following posting is taking from a request for volunteers by the Tokyo IS Support Drop center, and some information about their activities culled from their web page.

Tokyo International School as an Emergency Supply Center to drop off the supplies listed below to be delivered by truck to the Tohoku region to support the 1,000's of people in many shelters who are in desperate need of these supplies. They collaborating with Second Harvest Japan to collect these supplies and the delivery them to Tohoku.

They need at least two people working in two shifts to be at TIS from 9 AM - 7 PM on a daily basis to be able to receive these supplies. We will organize these things in the lobby of TIS and they will be picked up on a regular basis. We will be available to start receiving these items from Tuesday, March 22nd at 9 AM (Sunday & Monday holiday with no delivery). Please send an e-mail to us through if you are willing to volunteer to sort the items and box them to be sent to those in need.

Donating Goods to the Disaster Victims

Donating Goods to the Disaster Victims: What You Should Know!
Editor’s note: This entry is a direct reposting of an account written by Japanese journalist Toshinao Sasaki’s coverage at Uniken, the Japan Universal Design Research Institute. The original entry in Japanese can be found on his web pageMr. Sasaki has given his permission for the full post to be republished on other sites. Thanks to Camellia Nieh for the translation. )

On the 17th, when I announced my recent blog post titled “Report from the Disaster Area: Circumstances Differ from the Hanshin Earthquake” on Twitter, many people tweeted responses questioning my sources and accusing me of rumormongering. Immediately afterwards, I had the opportunity to speak with Ms. Yoshie Yokoo of the NPO Uniken on the telephone, further substantiating my position.

Uniken, J apan Universal Design Research   Institute  (Japanese only)
The non-profit organization Uniken currently has staff  and volunteers on the ground in the disaster-affected areas conducting relief activities, launching a project dubbed “the Japan Universal Disaster Relief Headquarters.”  The following is a summary of what I learned from Ms. Yokoo over the telephone.

 (1) The Japan Universal Disaster Relief Headquarters, or Japan Universal, has deployed a large number of volunteers to the disaster-affected areas. In Kesennuma for example, volunteers are piloting and staffing three privately owned helicopters to conduct relief activities. Other volunteers left Tokyo at 6pm on March 16th in two 2-ton trucks loaded with relief goods. They arrived at their destination in Yamagata at dawn on the 17th, roughly 12 hours later. Without stopping to sleep, they continued onwards to Kesennuma, an area affected by the tsunami. Many other volunteers are conducting similar activities. Currently, only trained volunteers with significant disaster relief experience are entering the disaster zones. Japan Universal is certified by the Japanese Cabinet Office and has been issued a government permit to use the highways to transport goods out of Tokyo.

(2) What is now becoming clear is that the circumstances of this disaster are completely unlike those of the Great Hanshin Earthquake. 

Beans and pineapple juice!

This is a quick cellphone photo of the beans and pineapple juice that were part of the first donation to the group, and the initial spark that inspired a ragtag collection of Tokyo-based foreigners to team together for delivering much needed food, water, supplies, daily essentials and equipment up to the people in Tohoku most affected by the devastating tsunami. Sincere thanks to Ikon Europubs for providing the warehouse space and drop-off location, and to Bluesilver Events for arranging our transportation and first big donations!!

Our first shipment just took off for Sendai earlier today (March 11th) they should be back in Tokyo in a day or two, and we will be uploading their photos soon after they get back.

Thank you again for your support.
We couldn't have sent the first truck out without your generous donations!
Thank you!

- Foreign Volunteers Japan

Foreign Volunteers Japan

Hello everyone,

Thank you very much for your interest in Foreign Volunteers Japan and our project to collect food and essential supplies for distributing to the people of Tohoku who have lost their houses, family members, and even some complete villages due to the devastating tsunami which followed the magnitude 9.0 Tohoku-Sendai earthquake. 

Our mission is to bring as much food and as many supplies as possible to the areas that were severely affected by the Tsunami, but have so far gone neglected by the recovery efforts. Due to the massiveness of the Tsunami's reach, there are many areas that are facing extreme shortages of daily necessities, this lack of necessary supplies is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

In order to help combat this, the founders and head organizers of this group, from Bluesilver Events, and Ikon Europubs, have so far arranged for two 4 ton trucks to make several trips up North with all of the supplies that they can collect. The initial donation that got this project started was an 8 ton donation of baked beans. Many of the emergency shelters up North are serving soup, but are lacking vegetables and other nutrient-rich ingredients that could add sustenance to the meals. Which is why even several tons of beans are likely to make a difference in this afflicted area.  While that was the initial donation, they are now looking for the following:

if you can, please send donations of food, diapers, fuel, blankets, clothing, children's toys, sweets, toilet rolls, chopsticks, paper plates, water, towels, futons, tents, cardboard boxes, plastic forks, charcoal, etc...
However long it takes, this team is dedicated to making sure everything reaches the people in need.

Please send or directly drop off donations to

14-5 daikyocho shinjuku 160-0015
Ikon Europubs KK


Please let us know if you have any questions, or would like any further information about the project.

Thank you for reading this, and sincere thanks for your support.


- Foreign Volunteers Japan 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Foreign Volunteers Japan was established as an open discussion forum for sharing and discussing information regarding volunteer activities, aid delivery, and humanitarian relief issues concerning the post-quake/tsunami recovery in the Tohoku region.