Government and banking institutions’ mistrust of aid collectors since the East Japan Earthquake

A couple days after the massive magnitude 9 earthquake in the Pacific 70 kilometres (43 mi) east of the Oshika Peninsula of Northeast Japan which caused a massive tsumami destroying the northeast coast of the Tohoku region, I was asked to make a website for the purpose of raising aid to buy goods and materials for volunteers to take to the survivors of the disaster. Help Japan 2011 is sponsored by a Japanese government recognized NPO called Leap High 28.

At the time, NPO Leap High 28′s Paypal account was under investigation by Paypal administrator’s to verify its NPO status. Because of this, account was unable to accept donations. To work around the problem, I used instead my own Paypal account as a temporary substitute.

Within the first week a number of friends sent close to $500 US to my Paypal account. Shortly afterward, Paypal sent me a message saying that I was using my Paypal account for business purposes and asked me to answer a set of questions. I believed I answered all the questions honestly and explained that none of my web sites with a Paypal donation button are offering anything for sale. I was merely asking donations for my missionary work, and since the March 11th earthquake, specifically for suppose of aid toward the earthquake and tsunami victims.

This seemed to satisfy Paypal and the matter appeared to be settled, but after a week suddenly and without warning, Paypal froze my account! This meant I could not use it to receive further donations or pay out from it. Thankfully by that time I withdrew all of the donations received for the earthquake victims and sent them on to the NPO. Only $100 of the money I previously had in the account is now frozen.

I personally used 10,000 yen (now $80 US) from donations I received since the earthquake to buy vegetables and natto for a large and needy family in Sendai. That together with other donations from friends taken to the family in Sendai was nearly double than the $500 US I received in my Paypal account.

Other Paypal users in Japan — people I know — who are working to raise aid for the tsunami victims have reported similar problems with Paypal. It makes me think that Paypal may be ultimately controlled by the Establishment.

Banks have also asked prying questions about transfers of funds from overseas. One of my friends who has been doing an great work in bringing supplies to needy families in Minami Senriku received a large donation of 3.2 million yen ($40,000 US) from a company based in the USA. The bank dragged its feet in transferring these funds to his account. He was asked by bank officials the purpose of the money. What business is it of theirs, anyway?! He said that if he told them he was selling pornography, they probably would have understood and accepted it better rather than saying he was using the funds to buy equipment, food and supplies for the disaster victims! It dawned on him, “The Establishment doesn’t want me to have money! Common folks aren’t supposed to have money because that means freedom of movement from Establishment control!”

Mr. Ikeda, the man who took me home on July 11th. from the Adatara Service area on the Tohoku Expressway in Fukushima Prefecture reported similar problems with banking institutions and government agencies. His house in Soma City Fukushima Prefecture was somewhat damaged by the earthquake but is still in a livable condition. City Hall in general has had nothing but doubts about his motivations to help raise aid for the disaster victims. He’s had to fight every step of the way to do anything toward the cause of bringing aid.

Apparently a few unscrupulous persons have been using the March 11th. disaster as a means to fill their own pockets. As a result, all the good people trying to help have suffered. At the same time, big name charities such as the Red Cross are collecting millions of $ without having to account for what all the money is being spent on! Talk about a mixed up world that cannot discern anymore the difference between the good guys and the bad ones. :(



Government and banking institutions’ mistrust of aid collectors since the East Japan Earthquake — 1 Comment

  1. Yes, I know what you mean James! I know someone else who had similar problems with Paypal…they seem to be particularly sensitive about donations almost regardless of purpose. I’m sure Paypal is feeling all kinds of heat as well, and understand why they’re tightening up, but it’s sad that the efforts of good people are being stymied, and those in need suffering, because of the selfishness of a few.

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