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Since the devastating earthquake and tsunami struck the Tohoku region of Japan in March this year, JETAA UK has been inundated with details of fundraising events organised across the country by local alumni and Japanese organisations. We have been posting details on our ‘events’ section of the website (fundraising events are shown in red). Events have included concerts, cake sales, origami workshops, charity walks, raffles and fundraising balls. Alumni from across the UK have united in their endeavours and determination to raise as much money for the numerous charities who have been leading the relief effort. Many of these events have been increasingly innovative, such as the one being planned by UK Alumni Maia Kawai-Calderwell and her brother Bill in London on 10th August.

Maia, whose mother is from Tochigi, spent many years of her childhood in Japan and two years participating on the JET Programme in Shizuoka prefecture. Her brother, Bill, was the UK Liaison Officer to the Japanese Self Defence Force in Iraq from 2005 to 2006.

Together, they came up with the idea of running the Fukushima exclusion zone around London as an innovative way of demonstrating the repercussions of the earthquake. The simple, but striking, message they wish to promote is that if London were Fukushima then those residents inside the course perimeter would be evacuated and be living in temporary shelters. The challenge is a a 100 mile run over 24hrs occurring 5 months after the earthquake struck.

Starting at 0546 on 10th August and finishing by 0546 the next day, Bill will run the whole course, with his sister Maia riding a Boris bike by his side. They will be supported by runners and cyclists along the way. Bill explains “We would really like and appreciate JET Alumni to take part, especially as Maia was on the JET Programme.” His aspiration is to “have a mass start of runners and cyclists at 0546 on 10th August from the Japanese Embassy, heading through Green Park, passing Buckingham Palace and onto the Thames Path.” Such support “would be a great way to start the event, draw media attention and also raise awareness.”

Maia and Bill (pictured) have an ambitious ¥10,000,000 target (just over £76,000) for the family led event, but both are passionate and determined to reach and exceed this amount. You can find out more information about the challenge, getting involved, donating and supporting them through their website; fukushima100milechallenge.org.uk

JETAA UK will be posting updates and further news in the run up to and after the event. Gambatte ne!