11th March 2011, at around 11:16 a.m. India time, the massive earthquake of magnitude 9.0 hit, and the subsequent powerful tsunami waves killed many precious lives in Tohoku (East-northern) region, Japan. The Great East Japan Earthquake is considered the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan, and the following nuclear accidents caused by the tsunami still force around 300,000 people to evacuate from the affected area even now.
On the fifth anniversary of the disaster yesterday, I remember the time when we were in deep sorrow and shock.
As a Japanese who had lived in India, around 6,000 km away from my home, I was wondering what could I do to share the pain. Then, I consulted with a manager of the accounting department in the workplace I belonged that time, whether we could send the donation collected from the employees. He proposed that we could ask each employee if he or she could donate, and how much; and then the accounting department would deduct the amount from the salary to be paid next month. I agreed, and we started collecting the donation. As later I asked him, around 300,000 Rupees were donated by around 450 employees.
Like, when we circulated the roster to people to fill their voluntary amount of donation, some employees as a joke told me that, "Japan's rich country, isn't it? Do we really need to donate them from our small salary?" Yes, that was the fact that the wage standard at that time of my ex-workplace was as low as less than one-third of that of Japan's IT industry standard; that is why it was truly something we could collect that much of significant amount as a donation from willing people.
Another episode that touched my heart was that immediately after the earthquake took place, I inquired The Consulate General of Japan, Mumbai that how could we send money from India to Japan. The response I got was; "there are the established routes of donations from Japan to India till now, but none exist vice versa; however, we are receiving many inquiries from Indian people how could they donate to those who are in need in Japan. We are currently working on establishing an account for the Japanese Red Cross to facilitate the acceptance of donations as soon as possible." People in India were also sharing the pain.
However, due to the above circumstances, we had to depend on our Japan office staff, who themselves were disaster victims. While they were tied up with supporting Indian employees sent to Japan, who were scared of the series of disasters they had never experienced before, they helped us in delivering the donation to the affected areas promptly.
I will never forget the gratitude I owed all of them who stood beside the people in Tohoku.