Japanese Mayor’s YouTube Plea Prompts Flood Of Donations

Katsunobu Sakurai is the mayor of Minamisoma, Japan; a small, isolated city that’s been devastated by the country’s recent bout of natural disasters.

After the massive 8+ earthquake and subsequent 60-foot tsunami struck Japan earlier this month, Minamisoma residents were told to stay indoors because of radiation leaks from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, located a mere 15 miles away.

Because rescue workers and supply trucks were ordered to stay at least 18 miles away from the damaged nuclear plant, no help could get through to Minamisoma.

Desperate, starving, and fearful for the fate of his city, Mr. Sakurai recorded an 11-minute video with a small camcorder and posted it on YouTube late on the night of March 24th.

“We are left isolated,” Mr. Sakurai says urgently into the camera. “I beg you, as the mayor of Minamisoma city, to help us.”

From the New York Times:

Mr. Sakurai describes the time when he made the video as the darkest moment in the disaster. Survivors had not even had time to recover the remains of loved ones from the wreckage of the tsunami when parts of the city were evacuated and people in others were ordered to remain indoors because of the plant accident.

“It was a terrifying time,” said Takamitsu Hoshi, a City Hall employee.” The furniture was constantly shaking from aftershocks, and we were constantly afraid of another explosion at the nuclear plant.”

This virtual “message in a bottle” went viral almost instantly, garnering over 250,000 views. Even more important than its popularity online is the fact that people didn’t just watch the video: they responded to it.

The New York Times reports that “almost two weeks later, the city hall is still getting phone calls, most from non-Japanese calling from abroad with offers to help. The city has also received hundreds of boxes of food and other supplies from individuals, and truckloads of relief goods from nonprofit organizations.”

Local residents came up with the idea of posting the video as a last ditch attempt to garner some media attention, which all but disappeared once the evacuation order when into effect.

Those wanting to help the residents of Minamisoma by donating food or other supplies, are encouraged to visit the city’s website for contacts.

If any Care2 members have already donated to this cause, please share your tips for getting donations there as soon as possible.

Related Reading:

New Earthquake Hits Japan, Triggers Tsunami Warning

More Ways You Can Help Japan

Japan Rescuers Pull Together To Save Pets

What Did The Japan Earthquake Sound Like?

What We Need To Learn From The Japanese Earthquake

 

Image: Debris fills the land in Ofunato, Japan after the tsunami. This location is about 5 hours away from Minamisoma, Japan.

Image Credit: Flickr - DVIDSHUB

29 comments

Loesje vB
Loesje Najoan5 years ago

Hope Japan will recovered very soon. God bless all.

Karren Exley
Karren Exley5 years ago

i just hope that the next time the world pleads with Japan to cease the whale,dolphin,all marine life slaughter & the slaughter of cats & dogs the list goes on that they listen take heed & stop as quick & without the stalling that we the world has shown japan its president & her people

Janet Ives
Janet Ives5 years ago

this is a lesson to us all in so many ways

Penny Carr
Penny C.5 years ago

how sad this is happening.

Kimberly Bennett
Kimberly Bennett5 years ago

WHAT IS SAD WE WERE PUT ON THIS EARTH TOGETHER AND WHEN SOMETHING HAPPENS SOME PEOPLE HELP WHILE THE OTHERS DON'T. WE HELP EACH COUNTRY AND WE DO WITHOUT FROM OUR GOV. WE GO HUNGRY, HOMELESS, DIE FROM DISEASE ETC.

NO OTHER COUNTRIES HELP US OR PART OF OUR STATES WHEN WE ARE HIT. NOW THAT THE TIDES HAVE TURN ON THEM........THEY NEED HELP AND WE TURN THE OTHER CHEAK EVERYTIME......WE AMERICANS DO STAND TOGETHER WELL MOST OF US NOT GOV ETC.

BUT I UNDERSTAND THEY ARE HAVING PROBLEMS GETTING STUFF THAT IS BEING SENT. SO HOPEFULLY THEY WILL GET HELP FROM EVERYBODY AND THINGS CHANGE FOR THE BEST.

Sue Horwood
Sue H.5 years ago

How sad that the internet has to be used in order for these people to get help. The Japanese government tripped up on helping them it seems. To the people who say why should we help, that's easy. If it happened to us we would like some help wouldn't we?

Maria S.
Maria S.5 years ago

Knowing how proud the Japanese people are, the mayor must have had a very difficult choise and must have felt very embarrased to have to make that video. Hope they get the help needed soon. God Bless them all.

Carol Cowbrough
Carol Cowbrough5 years ago

Noted. Thank you.

gerlinde p.
gerlinde p.5 years ago

this video is heartwrenching.

Diane Wayne
Past Member 5 years ago

PLEASE SIGN MY PETITION:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/close-nuclear-power-plants-worldwide/