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2011-03-18 12:10:36
Japan Relief Fund Established by AREAA

When Allen Okamoto, broker-owner of T. Okamoto & Co. in San Francisco, first saw the footage of the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami along the northern coast of Japan on March 11, he said he thought it looked like something out of a Hollywood movie. But when he got a closer look, he realized those were actual buildings being knocked over and ships thrown about. Okamoto watched with the rest of the world as Japan’s coastal communities were enveloped by water in minutes.

In the aftermath of the destruction, Okamoto, founding chair of the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) based in Carlsbad, Calif., says he wants to help Japan’s long-term needs. AREAA has set up a relief fund to support future rebuilding of homes for the people of the hardest hit Tohoku region.

The recovery efforts will likely take decades, Okamoto says, and AREAA is committed to helping rebuild the homes in Japan. “It’s going to take a substantial amount of money, and even the money we raise will probably be a drop in the bucket,” he says. “But maybe we can initiate things and bring in larger partners to help.”

Okamoto says AREAA will seek partnerships with other real estate and building groups, as well as financial institutions to make rebuilding possible.

AREAA has a partnership with the Osaka Real Estate Association, which is about 700 miles away from the destruction. They are helping to reach out to the real estate associations in Sendai, Japan – but they have not been able to connect with anyone in the affected area.

As of March 17, the Japanese National Police Agency reports 16,600 dead or missing due to the catastrophe. “It’s really horrific.” Okamoto says

Funds have been established by groups across the U.S. to help with immediate relief efforts – supplying food, water, clothing, blankets, and basic needs to the people of Japan. But according to a CNNMoney.com report, donations for Japan have lagged behind those collected following Hurricane Katrina or the Haiti earthquake.

Okamoto encourages real estate professionals and organizations to get involved by holding fundraisers in their communities or incorporate benefits with real estate events. No administrative fees will be taken from the AREAA Foundation Earthquake Relief Fund – 100 percent of the money raised will go directly to Japan.

–Erica Christoffer, REALTOR® Magazine

To make a tax-deductible donation, please make a check out to:
AREAA Foundation Earthquake Relief Fund

And mail the check to:
5963 La Place Court, Suite 312
Carlsbad, CA 92008-8823

Read more:
Disaster in Japan: How to Help

Provided by,

Doug Spiers / Associate Broker / Global Choice Real Estate / 801-726-7173

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