09/29/2011—It’s been nearly six months since the combination of a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunamis brought devastation to the east coast of Japan, killing thousands, destroying infrastructure and farmland, and leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless. After the March 11, 2011 earthquake, aftershocks and radiation leaks from damaged nuclear reactors only added to the destruction.
While these tragic events have primarily affected Japan, it’s good to see that the humanitarian response has been a global one, with Lexus and Toyota taking part in fundraising efforts around the world.
In Japan, Toyota Motor Corporation unveiled a wide-ranging initiative called the Kokoro Hakobu Project. Kokoro Hakobu, which translates as “to carry (or deliver) one’s heart,” focuses on providing financially for those affected worst by the disaster, backing a commitment to manufacturing in northeastern Japan, and exploring the idea of potentially using hybrid vehicles as auxiliary power sources in future emergencies.
Additionally, Toyota and Lexus helped sponsor fundraising events to benefit earthquake victims. One such event was Walk the Farm, held on June 18, in Irvine, California. Walk the Farm participants got to walk around the picturesque 30-acre Tanaka Farms with stops at different stations for samples of fresh, area-grown produce, including squash, tomatoes, onions, and corn. The event attracted 1,700 walkers, 300 volunteers, and more than 150 sponsors. The event, organized by Glenn Tanaka, benefited selected farmers from the most severely affected areas of Japan, many of whom had their land and equipment completely destroyed.
“Being a farmer, you want to assist other farmers, and that’s why we came up with this idea,” explains Tanaka, a third-generation Japanese-American farmer. “It’s not only helping my heritage, it’s helping a fellow farmer.”
In the end, Tanaka reports that the Walk the Farm event raised more than $95,000, just one amazing example of the global charitable work supporting the recovery in Japan.
—DAVE JOHNSTON, SENIOR EDITOR