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Japan Donates $500K to Hurricane Sandy Victims

While on a tour of New Jersey, Japan's ambassador stopped in Freehold and announced a donation to help rebuild New Jersey.

Images of the damage left from Hurricane Sandy decorated the conference room in the Hall of Records on Wednesday, as the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders sat down with Shigeyuki Hiroki, ambassador and consulate general of Japan in New York.

After hearing of the damage suffered by New Jersey residents, Hiroki began visiting with counties to hear how they each fared during the storm. During his tour, he made a stop in Freehold and sat down with the Board of Chosen Freeholders and members of the Monmouth County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) to hear how Monmouth County handled Hurricane Sandy.

“This storm has drastically changed the landscape of the New Jersey coast,” said Mike Oppegaard, Director of Monmouth County OEM. “3,100 homes that we know of have been affected to the point that their owners will not be able to move back in.

As no stranger to natural disasters, Hiroki explained to the freeholders and members of the OEM how sympathetic he was.

“The Japanese community is very sympathetic, which is why we would like to donate $500,000 to victims,” Hiroki said. “It is very important for us to be united. After we experienced our earthquake and tsunami we know what it is like to go through a disaster. In time of need, we have to be united.”

While Hiroki’s visit was not a lengthy one, he and the Freeholders exchanged stories of their experiences with natural disasters. A common theme among the stories was friendship and patience.

“We went through a similar thing and we are still rebuilding. Everyone should understand that rebuilding takes a long time,” said Hiroki. “I am still amazed though to see how young volunteers have helped old folks, we are connected and it is important we all work together. This was a tragedy, but through it we realized friendship.”

Jeanine November 27, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Even though they wont say it.. thank you to japan for being so unselfish and helping when all the other countries ignored after we have helped them...It is not the numbers that matter its the thought and the attempt to help..even as they are still rebuilding themselves they UNSELFISHLY gave to us.. Thank You Japan
Jeanine November 27, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Ment See not say
Melissa November 27, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Heartwarming story. Anytime someone gives it is a blessing. The amount should not be debated negatively.
Renee Michelle November 27, 2012 at 03:15 PM
I agree that we should not look a gift horse in the mouth - however, I am concerned about HOW these donated millions are getting (or not getting) distributed! I wish our journalists would investigate and report exactly IF and HOW storm victims are getting these dollars.
Ryan November 27, 2012 at 04:13 PM
GJC- Japan's GDP is a little more than 1/3 of ours ($5.8 trillion to our $15 trillion)... so would it fit that they gave us 1/3 of what we sent to them (it was about $64 million http://philanthropy.com/article/US-Charities-Raise/126759/ )? It's not selfish it's realistic. Where are the countries that we literally send billions to every year when we need help?

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