Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Representatives Takahashi Chizuko on March 20 visited disaster-hit Iwate and Fukushima prefectures to deliver 10 million yen, worth more than U.S. $120,000, each in donations that the JCP collected at various locations across Japan.
Takahashi is leading the JCP on-site taskforce to deal with what is being called the Great East Japan Disaster.
Iwate Governor Tasso Takuya expressed his appreciation and said, "I'll put the donations to good use for emergency assistance and to help rebuild disaster areas."
Tasso also demanded that the national government take drastic measures to help and revitalize the areas hit by the earthquake and tsunami. Responding to the governor, Takahashi said that disaster-hit areas lost their administrative functions and that it is necessary for the central government to provide support for those areas beyond the provisions of the existing relevant laws.
Governor Tasso stated, "I hope the energetic work of the JCP, which has grassroots power in local communities and a nationwide network, will continue to assist us."
On the previous day, Takahashi also handed over 10 million yen in donations to Miyagi Prefectural Vice Governor Miura Shuichi.
Local JCP organizations and members throughout the country are holding fund-raising campaigns for the disaster victims in the wake of the devastating March 11 natural earthquake and tsunami.
Donations collected by the JCP will be sent to municipalities and medical institutions in the disaster-hit areas and used for JCP relief activities.
The JCP is making efforts to grasp the real on-the-ground situation of the quake and tsunami stricken areas and respond to disaster victims' demands through the central and on-site taskforces that the JCP immediately established after the devastating disaster struck.
The JCP determines where to send donations it collected based on the degree of damage and informs the public how it used the donations through Akahata, the JCP's newspaper, and its website.
Local assembly members of the Japanese Communist Party have been involved in relief efforts in disaster-hit areas since March 11 when the major earthquake and tsunami occurred.
Minamisoma City in Fukushima Prefecture was devastated by the tsunami in the aftermath of the earthquake. In most of the city, residents are being told to stay inside following the serious damage incurred at the Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Plant.
Watanabe Kan'ichi, a JCP city assembly member of Minamisoma, found at one of the evacuation centers in the city a resident who is certified to drive trucks carrying dangerous materials. With the certification, he can drive a tank truck to transport gasoline from Koriyama City, which is 90 kilometers, about 56 miles, away from Minamisoma.
On the night of the 16th, gasoline was finally brought to the city for the first time after the quake by this truck driver.
The amount, however, allowed local cars to refuel with only 10 liters each. "We desperately need gasoline and heating oil. The Internet has been cut off even at the city office. Information networks must be restored as soon as possible," said Watanabe.
Originally published by the Japanese Press Service. Photo: JCP members take donations for hard-hit areas.