Japanese Christian from all denominations are rallying together to assist in the emergency following the earthquake and tsunami of 11 March. One source told Fides: “there is the intention to spread a unified effort of solidarity, to give a visible sign of love of neighbour, in the way that Christ taught us.”
Numerous communities have mobilised – also motivating their contacts at an international level – speaking, exchanging ideas and continuously exchanging information, ideas and projects through the web and especially through social networks such as Facebook.
In addition to the work of the Catholic Church and Caritas in Sendai - the area most affected by the earthquake - an 'Earthquake Christian Disaster Centre' has been launched in the last few days by the United Church of Christ in Japan (UCCJ) and many Christian volunteers, among them the Director of the Centre, Fr Hideo Ishibashi, are visiting the affected areas to study the possible forms of intervention.
Also in Sendai, the 'Christian Relief, Assistance, Support and Hope' (CRASH) network of humanitarian and social assistance sponsored by several Christian evangelical communities, thanks to the work of brave volunteers, began to bring aid (food, blankets etc) to displaced people in areas around Fukushima, about 40 km from the nuclear power plant.
The 'National Christian Council in Japan' (NCCJ), which unites the Christian faithful, launched an aid campaign with the intention of “helping the most needy people, those who have lost everything”, while the Lutheran faithful present in two areas in Sendai have also mobilised. The Anglican-Episcopal Church in Japan, has established its general headquarters in Tokyo to coordinate emergency plans. The Japanese Baptist Union (JBU), which has lost several of their faithful in the tragedy, is receiving appropriate and on the spot support for their relief operations from Baptist World Aid, the charitable organisation that operate globally.
In recent days, the Russian Orthodox Church announced fund-raising activities for Japan while the network of the YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association) offered to host the weak and the vulnerable in their shelters, especially children and the elderly.
Other groups and communities belonging to the Japan Evangelical Alliance, such as the Salvation Army in Japan, the Japan Alliance Christ Church,World Vision Japan, and others have organised a network of helpers on the ground that continue to communicate and coordinate among each other, mainly via social networks.