National

Hong Kongers raise money for Japanese typhoon victims

by Ryusei Takahashi

Staff Writer

Hong Kongers have raised more than ¥13.8 million to help people in Japan recover from a powerful typhoon that tore through the country earlier this month.

The crowdfunding campaign, which ended Sunday with nearly four thousand backers, was created by YouTuber Jason Chau, who said the money will be donated to the Japanese Red Cross Society. The campaign website says that it collected about 1.06 million Hong Kong dollars.

“Despite what’s happening in their own country right now, many Hong Kongers want to help Japanese people who are struggling,” said Agnes Chow, a high-profile activist in Hong Kong, in a statement to The Japan Times regarding the campaign, for which she was not an organizer.

Typhoon Hagibis, the 19th named typhoon of the season, made landfall Oct. 11 on the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture before making its way north towards the Tohoku region.

The storm brought with it record-breaking rain, strong winds and heavy flooding that claimed the lives of 83 people, damaged or destroyed some 56,000 buildings and left more than 2,500 hectares on the country’s main island of Honshu inundated with floodwater.

The government plans to disburse ¥710 million to provide emergency aid — including water, temporary beds and toilets — at evacuation centers.

For more than four months Hong Kong has been overrun by violent protests and police crackdowns. What began as a relatively peaceful demonstration in July against a controversial bill that would allow the extradition of fugitives to mainland China has descended into a bloody clash between police and protesters that has engulfed the former British colony in a symbolic fight for freedom. Since June, two people have been shot and wounded by police, thousands have been injured and more than 2,300 arrested.

“Even in a time of unrest in our own city, we still look to help in whatever way we can to others … Part of me feels proud to be a Hongkonger and still have this spirit of solidarity with others,” wrote Jianne Soriano, a 23-year-old born in Hong Kong who now lives in Tokyo. “It just goes to show that Hong Kong people are in solidarity with others.”

Tear gas and firebombs littered the streets of Hong Kong once again on Sunday as thousands of protesters staged an illegal protest, wearing masks in defiance of recent efforts by the central government to activate emergency laws to ban them.

Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, will be one of 400 VIP guests to attend Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement ceremony in Tokyo on Tuesday, a move that could draw criticism amid the ongoing protests.

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