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This article was published 11/3/2011 (2210 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Winnipeg's Japanese community may be small, but it is ready to do what it can to help Japan in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami.
And they want the federal government to help, as well.
Lucy Yamashita, president of the Manitoba Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, said they are advising their members the best way to help the Japanese people is to donate to the Canadian Red Cross. She said there are more than 1,300 Winnipeggers who have identified themselves as Japanese in past censuses.
"They (Red Cross) have established an appeal for relief funds already and they are ready to help," Yamashita said Friday as Winnipeggers began arriving for a previously scheduled event to experience Japanese culture as well as cosplay and anime.
Yamashita says her organization is just beginning to look at planning a fundraising event.
But Yamashita said the National Association of Japanese Canadians -- which is based in Winnipeg -- is calling on the federal government to provide matching funds for donors, similar to what happened in the wake of the earthquake in Haiti.
"Japan rebuilt and came back after an earthquake in Kobe (in 1995)," she said.
"I am sure they will rebuild now. But this was an incredible earthquake, the worst they have ever had."
Yamashita hasn't been able to get in touch with her sister, who lives near Tokyo. "She is not really affected, I think," Yamashita said. "All of the (telephone) lines are tied up, but I have sent an email."
Late Friday afternoon, Premier Greg Selinger sent out condolences to the people of Japan.
"We extend out our deepest condolences to the nation of Japan and its people, who are dealing with the unimaginable impacts of yesterday's earthquake," Selinger said in a statement. "Our thoughts are with those who have lost family members or are waiting for word."
The provincial government said any Manitoban concerned about family and friends in Japan can call the federal Foreign Affairs Department at 1-800-387-3124 or email firstname.lastname@example.org