Overseas disaster aid ¥164 billion in ’11

JIJI

The country received some ¥164 billion in disaster aid from abroad in the first year after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, a think tank survey showed.

The amount was equivalent to some 40 percent of the roughly ¥400 billion in donations for the disasters collected here, the International Development Center of Japan reported.

Most of the aid from abroad, from 174 economies, came in the first three months after the disasters hit. Japan was the biggest recipient of assistance given in response to natural disasters and humanitarian crises in the world during 2011, the center said.

Of the total aid from abroad, ¥52.4 billion — the largest portion confirmed by the end of March 2012 — came from the Middle East and North Africa, home to a number of oil-producing nations. Roughly ¥45.3 billion came from North America, followed by about ¥30 billion from East Asia.

Of the 174 economies, 119 were recipients of Japan’s official development assistance and 35 were among the least developed countries in Asia and Africa.

“The survey reminds us that Japan received a great deal of assistance from abroad,” International Christian University professor Kazuo Takahashi said.

The survey was based on Foreign Ministry and U.N. documents as well as questionnaires.

Taiwan to get 3/11 nod

Japan will give Taiwan a seat in a section for guests from foreign countries at a government-sponsored memorial event slated for Monday for those who died in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, a government official said Wednesday.

A delegate will be given the seat and the name Taiwan will be read out when the representative contributes flowers, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told a news conference.

At the first memorial event last year, held by the Democratic Party of Japan-led government, Taiwan was treated as a private organization and its name was not read out as a contributor to the memorial. The treatment drew criticism and then-Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda apologized before the Diet.