We wish you a happy new year and all the best for 2012. As you have noticed, this site had been quiet for several months now. We appreciate the numerous emails and comments expressing the hope to see Japan Exposures going again. We want to make an effort to live up to that expectation. The events in Japan turned out to be only one of many in 2011: the Arab Spring and resulting disposal of a dictator in Libya, the European debt crisis etc. There was no shortage of events needing our attention.
Perhaps you also hear the reports about recovery and reconstruction in Japan. While these are encouraging, they also contain the desire to paint a positive picture when in reality many problems remain: the damage inflicted by earthquake and tsunami as well as widespread contamination by radioactive materials will weigh heavily on communities for years, if not decades.
Above all, however, stands the loss of life. Following suggestions from our customers, we added a voluntary option to donate as part of the sales of the MS Optical Super Triplet Perar 3.5/35 Mark II. The response has been very positive and I am pleased to report that Japan Exposures was able to collect a total of ¥430.000 (as of today approx. US$5590 / €4300), which was donated in full to a charity named Michinoku Mirai (Northern Region Future).
Michinoku Mirai was established by condiment maker Kagome, snacks producer Calbee and pharmaceutical company Rohto to provide funds for young people who were orphaned by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami to pay for university or post-secondary vocational school. According to the Health Welfare and Labor Ministry, about 1,500 youngsters aged 18 or less lost both parents in the disaster. Starting in March 2012, those who graduate from high school and wish to continue their education can apply for up to ¥3 million a year from the fund to pay for anything related to that education, including entry fees, tuition and supplies.
The three companies estimate that the fund will need about ¥200 million a year, and each one will start by contributing ¥30 million for the first year, with the remainder coming from solicited contributions. They will continue supplying the fund with money for 20 years, at which point children who were orphaned as infants by the disaster will have graduated from high school. The reason the fund was created is that there is no public support in Japan for the continuing education of orphans. When orphans reach the age of 18, they are on their own. Foster care ends at 18, and since in Japan there is very little in the way of what in the West are called scholarships — meaning education grants — orphans almost never attend university.
We hope that you will agree that this purpose is very worthwhile our support and thank you once more for your contribution.
Happy New Year!