Japan’s Red Cross under scrutiny for not distributing aid quickly enough

According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s latest tally, donations to Japan relief efforts now total more than $161 million with close to three-quarters being raised by the American Red Cross. This amount still lags behind amounts raised in the two week aftermath of last year’s earthquake in Haiti ($528 million) and 2005’s Hurricane Katrina ($1 billion).

In related news, the Los Angeles Times reports that Japan’s Red Cross has recently come under fire for not having yet distributed any of the $1 billion in funding raised for the earthquake and tsunami victims. According to the publication, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano urged that the process be accelerated on Sunday.

Read the rest of the story: Japan’s Red Cross comes under fire for not distributing aid quickly enough.

Radio Charity Musicthon SP: Fukuyama Masaharu to host 24-hour radio special for the areas affected by the Tohoku earthquake

Fukuyama Masaharu (42) will be hosting a special 24-hour live radio program on April 9th-10th for the areas affected by the Tohoku earthquake. He personally announced the project during his radio show on Saturday night.

The “Radio Charity Musicthon SP: I’m with U: Kimi to, 24 Jikan Radio” will start at 1:00pm on April 9th and continue for a full 24 hours. Fukuyama will be singing and delivering live messages, while encouraging donations for the relief efforts. There will also be special celebrity guests participating in the program. However, there will not be any extravagant performances, in consideration of the current energy conservation measures in Japan.

Nippon Broadcasting System has held a 24-hour musicthon around Christmas every year since 1975. This will be its first time doing a special one outside the Christmas season.

Last year, Fukuyama starred in the NHK taiga drama “Ryomaden.” Some filming was done on location in the city of Ofunato, Iwate, which was one of the areas heavily affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Fukuyama also happened to be in Kobe during the time of the Great Hanshin earthquake back in 1995.

Fukuyama was originally scheduled to perform at the Sekisui Heim Super Arena in Miyagi prefecture on April 9th and 10th, but those concerts were canceled due to the tsunami. He will resume his national tour from April 16th in Mie prefecture.

It was also revealed today that Fukuyama participated in the charity song “I love you & I need you Fukushima” by the band Inawashirokozu, consisting of Matsuda Shinji (THE BACK HORN), Yamaguchi Takashi (Sambomaster), Watanabe Toshimi (TOKYO No.1 SOUL SET), and Yanai Michihiko. He played the electric guitar and harmonica for a special version of the song, while Inoue Akira played the piano. That version is available on the Tokyo FM mobile website.

Red Sox Foundation and Matsuzaka donate more than $1.3M to Japan relief

Boston Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka is donating $1 million to the team’s official charity for victims of the earthquake and tsunami in his native Japan.

The team said Friday the right-hander’s gift to the Red Sox Foundation will be sent to the Japanese Red Cross Society to aid response to the March 11 disaster.

Boston’s other Japanese pitchers—Hideki Okajima, Junichi Tazawa and Itsuki Shoda—also have made personal donations and joined Matsuzaka, team captain Jason Varitek and others in collecting donations from fans at two spring training games in Florida.

The Red Sox Foundation has raised more than $1.3 million for relief in Japan.

Hamasaki Ayumi makes 30 million yen donation to relief efforts in Japan

Singer Hamasaki Ayumi (32) has been very active in response to the massive earthquake last week, constantly spreading news and messages through her official Twitter account to her more than 450,000 followers. On Friday, her record label Avex revealed that she has also donated 35 million yen so far towards the relief efforts in the affected areas.

According to Avex, her most recent donation was a 30 million yen contribution to the Japanese Red Cross on Friday. Before that, she had already given to other organizations, donating 1 million yen on March 12 and 13, and an additional 3 million yen on March 14.

Hamasaki also announced a few days ago that she is collaborating with fashion magazine ViVi for charity T-shirts, which she designed herself. Each shirt is selling for 1,500 yen, and all sales will go towards helping victims in the affected areas.

Hamasaki had seven CD releases simultaneously scheduled for March 30, but Avex has postponed all of its new releases that were planned for late March. Tickets for her Saitama Super Arena concerts on April 9-10 were also scheduled to go on sale this weekend, but those have been postponed for now.

Bullock donates $1 million in aid to Japan

Hollywood has made plenty of disaster movies, but the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan is no fiction and the entertainment industry has responded to the dire situation there with generosity.

Oscar winner Sandra Bullock became the latest to join the cause when the American Red Cross said on Thursday that she had given $1 million to help victims of the disaster in Japan.

Several other celebrities and Hollywood studios have also pledged support to the nation.

Charlie Sheen, the embattled Hollywood bad boy, is donating $1 per ticket for all his upcoming live stage shows to the Red Cross.

Pop star Lady Gaga designed a bracelet for Japan relief and within 48 hours it raised $250,000, with sales ongoing.

Read the rest of the story: Bullock joins Hollywood pack in aid to Japan.