Helping Hands?

Donations to Japan are lagging behind previous relief efforts

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As Japan digs out from its devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami, international donors have been hesitant to commit large sums of money to the relief effort. According to figures compiled by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, U.S. donors gave $105 million to Japan in the first week, compared with $275 million for Haiti after its earthquake last year. (Hurricane Katrina got $500 million in the first week.) Other countries don't appear to be eager to give either. Why? "It's largely because Japan is a well-developed country with an established relief system," says Chronicle editor Stacy Palmer. Even though the World Bank estimate of $235 billion in damage dwarfs the figures for more recent natural disasters, there's a perception that wealthy Japan can handle it. And with uprisings in the Middle East dominating the news cycle, fundraising is likely to continue at its sluggish pace.