Does it make sense to give donations to Japan:

For donations that benefit the victims of the earth quake and tsunami

in Japan, the DZI (German Centre for Social Issues) has the following


- Despite being highly advanced and having a great pool of experts and

helpers, the scale of the disaster and the danger of radioactive

contamination are enormously challenging for Japanese society.

- Japan has a highly sophisticated system of governmental disaster relief

and has good infrastructures for concerted efforts of civil society, as

was seen in the aftermath of the earthquake in Kobe 1995.

- Effective help depends on the acceptance among the effected population

and those stakeholders that are responsible in government. It also demands

a highly skilled competence, good contacts and sufficient knowledge of the

Japanese language.

- Nobody can assess at the moment which scale of foreign assistance and

personnel is needed, so that efforts can become highly effective.

Because of the radioactive contamination in large parts of the disaster

region, a departure of helpers is limited.

- Under these circumstances many of the experienced relief organisations

in Germany have not yet decided to send their helpers and relief supplies

to Japan. This is probably changing in the next days and weeks, but it

all depends on the Japanese government or civil society organisations,

who will have to demand such assistance.

- Donations should only made to those organisations who have already good

contacts to partner organisations in Japan and can be trusted to forward

these funds. This way an effective relief effort can be guaranteed.

- The DZI warns possible donors to show restrain when collaborating with

such organisations that are not providing sufficient information of their

relief competence in Japan.