'Aloha for Japan' relief effort for earthquake and tsunami victims launched

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii business leaders, members of the Japanese American community, Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz and Japan Consul General Yoshihiko Kamo convened to organize a coordinated, statewide effort to collect donations for victims of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan.

Schatz, who was asked by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to help coordinate Japan relief efforts, also consulted all four county mayors by telephone.

Hawaii's largest banking institutions, including American Savings Bank, Bank of Hawaii, Central Pacific Bank, Finance Factors, First Hawaiian Bank, Hawaii National Bank, HomeStreet Bank, Pacific Rim Bank, and Territorial Savings Bank, have all agreed to serve as collection points for monetary donations.

This coordinated, statewide effort, entitled "Aloha for Japan," builds upon programs already initiated by individual banks to accept donations.

"The Hawaii banks are pleased to support this humanitarian effort to assist the people of Japan, said Gary Fujitani, executive vice president of the Hawaii Bankers Association. "Hopefully, the public will find it convenient to be able to make a donation at almost 275 bank branches statewide. We are asking customers to make a contribution in any amount to help Japan recover from this tragic disaster."

Those wishing to contribute to this relief effort can make donations directly with branch tellers at participating banks. Checks should be made payable to "Aloha for Japan."

This is the first of many initiatives being launched by the Aloha for Japan committee. Musical concerts and TV programs are also being developed.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims," Schatz said. "We stand in support and solidarity with Japan as they begin to recover from this tragedy. I am so pleased with the generosity, cooperation and compassion of so many people throughout Hawaii. In this time of great crisis across the Pacific, it's time for all of us to show our aloha for Japan."

Donation checks can also be mailed to: Aloha for Japan, 2454 South Beretania Street, Suite 201, Honolulu, HI 96826.

The Aloha for Japan committee was inspired in part by the collaborative efforts of local designers who formed a joint venture, GRP HOME Company. This group designed an "ALOHA" T-shirt, incorporating the rising sun, emblematic of the Japanese flag.

These "ALOHA" T-shirts, which are already in high demand, can be purchased at the following stores: Hi-Life/Buti-Groove Hawaii, Fitted Hawaii, In4Mation, Aloha Army, and Barefoot League. All proceeds will go towards relief efforts in Japan. For more information, visit www.AlohaforJapan.com.

Business and community leaders who are part of the Aloha for Japan committee include:

• Lenny Yajima Andrew, Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii

• James Kimo Apana, Maui Japanese Chamber of Commerce

• Rick Blangiardi, HawaiiNewsNow

• Betty Brow, Bank of Hawaii

• Karleen Chinen, Hawaii Herald

• Gary Fujitani, Hawaii Bankers Association

• Kay Fukumoto, CPA

• Robyn Furuya, KZOO

• Robert Harrison, First Hawaiian Bank

• Ed Hawkins, Japan-American Society of Hawaii

• Peter Ho, Bank of Hawaii

• Al Hoffman, Hawaiian Airlines

• Don Horner, First Hawaiian Bank

• Austin Imamura, Pacific Rim Bank

• Wayne T. Ishihara, Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce

• Kyoko Kimura, Hotel Wailea, Hawaii Tourism Authority, JCCH

• Wayne Kirihara, Central Pacific Bank

• Gary Kobashigawa, Hawaii National Bank, United Japanese Society of Hawaii

• Randy Kurohara, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Hawaii

• Akemi Kurokawa, The Breakers Hotel

• Constance Lau, Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc.

• Richard Matsu, Marukai Wholesale Mart

• Colbert Matsumoto, Island Insurance Companies

• Mike McCartney, Hawaii Tourism Authority

• Wayne Miyao, Hiroshima Hawaii Sister State Committee

• Kazuo Nakamine, Hawaii Pacific Press

• Norman Nakasone, Hawaii United Okinawa Association

• Naobumi "Ned" Nomura, Sony Hawaii & Nippon Club

• Stephanie Ohigashi, Maui Japanese Chamber of Commerce

• Darren Ota, Honolulu Junior Chamber of Commerce

• Kaulana Park, American Savings Bank

• Mark Platte, HawaiiNewsNow

• Brian Schatz, Hawaii Lt. Governor

• Jane Serikaku, Hawaii United Okinawa Association

• Pono Shim, Enterprise Honolulu

• Akira Shimmyo, Hawaii Hochi

• Yukilei Sugimura, Connect LLC

• Cyrus Tamashiro, Hawaii United Okinawa Association

• Barry Taniguchi, KTA Superstores

• Donna Tanoue, Bank of Hawaii

• Tyler Tokioka, Island Insurance Companies, Japanese Chamber of Commerce Hawaii

• David Uchiyama, Hawaii Tourism Authority

• Richard Wacker, American Savings Bank

• Terry Wheelock, HawaiiNewsNow

• Hoyt Zia, Hawaiian Airlines

Copyright Hawaii News Now 2011. All rights reserved.