City fund to help Japanese victims

THE earthquake and tsunami disaster thousands of miles away sent shock waves across the city’s Japanese community this week.

Milton Keynes resident Japanese monks are already raising cash for emergency relief.

They have opened a bank account and are appealing for people to donate whatever they can.

Meanwhile they are urging sympathisers to go to a special prayer session for Japan on Sunday.

The monks, headed by Naga Hama, live at the Buddhist temple near Willen’s Peace Pagoda. Part of the Nipponzan Myohoji Sect, they are anxiously awaiting news of whether their fellow members in Japan are safe.

“It is a very worrying time for them. Phone lines are down and they cannot contact Japan to see if people they know have been affected,” said a friend of the community Bandula Chandra Rapna.

Also waiting fearfully are families from the Japanese community living in Milton Keynes, some of whom have relatives in affected areas.

“Because Milton Keynes has so many large Japanese businesses and because it was the site of a former Japanese school, there is a considerable number of people from Japan living in the city,” said a spokesman.

“The worst thing for them is not knowing, and not being able to contact their loved ones to check whether they are safe,” he said.

One company, ALPs Electric, has its UK headquarters in Wymbush.

They have factories in some of the most badly affected areas, including Fukushima where the nuclear power plant is sited.

The company had several anxious days until it could confirm that all its employees had survived.

Now it has vowed to make it a “top priority” to help those who have lost homes and possessions.

Anyone who wants to pray for the Japanese victims is invited to Sunday’s session, which starts at the Buddhist Temple at 2pm.

Donations can be made to the monk’s fund, registered charity number 291359, via Lloyds Bank.

Cheques should be made out to Nipponzan Myohoji Japanese Disaster Fund.