GACKT launches earthquake relief fund

Singer GACKT is using his influence to help earthquake relief efforts, establishing a new emergency donation fund called “SHOW YOUR HEART.” The fund was organized with cooperation from popular online gaming portal Hangame, and a special webpage has been launched for the fund.

A large number of other celebrities have added messages of support on the webpage, including LUNA SEA’s Shinya, h.NAOTO, Fujiwara Norika, Izumiya Shigeru, Nightmare’s Ni~ya, BREAKERZ’s DAIGO, Jinnai Tomonori, Haruna Ai, Koike Eiko, Tamaki Nami, Ohguro Maki, and many more.

The donations, which are being accepted through a Sumitomo Mitsui bank account, will be given to the Japanese Red Cross and prefectural welfare organizations.


Japan requests foreign rescue teams

Japan has requested a limited number of foreign search and rescue teams to help with the aftermath of its major earthquake and tsunami, the United Nations said Friday.

More than 68 search and rescue teams from 45 countries have offered aid to Japan, which was hit by the earthquake and tsunami Friday in the northeast, it said.

"Japan has requested international search and rescue teams, but only a handful," Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said in Geneva.

At least four teams had been requested — from Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and the United States, Byrs said. Japan’s request was made before a strong quake with preliminary magnitude of 5.8 struck northwestern Japan early Saturday.

U.S. President Barack Obama spoke to Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan Friday to offer to help "in any way possible," the Japanese Jiji agency reported.

"The United States stands ready to help the Japanese people in this time of great trial … The friendship and alliance between our two nations is unshakeable, and only strengthens our resolve to stand with the people of Japan as they overcome this tragedy," Obama said in a statement.

Read the rest of the story: Japan requests foreign rescue teams, U.N. says | Reuters.

Ways to help Japan after massive earthquake

The globe was rocked by the news March 11, as an 8.9 earthquake in Japan caused widespread destruction and set off a 23-foot Pacific tsunami. This has been called the fifth largest earthquake in recorded history.

More than 50 aftershocks were recorded, along with a second earthquake that measured 6.7. Hundreds were killed or injured, with many thousands reported missing.

Videos of the earthquake in Japan have been circulated online.

As the tsunami approached Hawaii and America’s West Coast, U.S. President Barack Obama offered a public statement from The White House.

"This morning I spoke with Prime Minister Kan," President Obama said. "On behalf of the American people, I conveyed our deepest condolences, especially to the victims and their families, and I offered our Japanese friends whatever assistance is needed."

How can Americans help the victims of the earthquake in Japan?

Read the rest of the story: 8 ways to help Japan after massive earthquake.