Sunderland firms and schools urged to back Nissan’s Japan Day in aid of earthquake and tsunami survivors

A woman searches her belongings in the debris at the March 11 earthquake and tsunami-destroyed town of Rikuzentakata, northern Japan.
A woman searches her belongings in the debris at the March 11 earthquake and tsunami-destroyed town of Rikuzentakata, northern Japan.
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NISSAN staff will show support for those whose lives were ripped apart by the recent tsunami with a special Japan Day.

The firm’s Sunderland plant will stage the day on Friday, to support the continuing relief effort in company’s parent country.

Four weeks on from the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, a two-minute silence will be held at the plant at midday on Friday, so staff can pay their respects to the people of Japan.

More than 12,000 people are known to have died as a result of the disaster and 15,000 remain unaccounted for.

A massive relief effort continues to help the millions affected, and Nissan in the UK has chosen the Red Cross as the charity to channel donations.

On Friday, vehicles will be arranged into a giant Red Cross as a symbolic show of support.

A Bring £1 to Work Day will take place at the Wearside factory, with other North East employers preparing to host similar events for their staff to donate to the Red Cross Japan Tsunami Appeal.

Those planning Bring £1 to Work events include Sunderland AFC, Benfield Motors, Sunderland University and Port of Tyne.

Nissan is also encouraging schools to stage a £1 Jeans for Japan Day either on the same day or April 15, the last day of term. One already signed up is Cleadon Village Primary School.

Mark Astarita, fund-raising director for the British Red Cross said: “Since March 11, the Japanese Red Cross has sent 230 response teams of more than 1,200 staff and volunteers to the stricken region, many of whom are trained doctors and nurses.

“Red Cross teams have been providing first aid, emergency healthcare and psychological support, as well as assisting the authorities with evacuations near nuclear plants and staffing shelters for evacuees.

“Red Cross volunteers have been distributing relief, including personal hygiene kits and blankets, providing hot meals, clearing debris and transporting injured people.”

He added: “The support of Nissan and the people of the North East will help them to continue this valuable work as they help their country recover.”

Staff across the plant and across other Nissan sites within the UK have raised more than £25,000 so far.

Kevin Fitzpatrick, Nissan vice-president for manufacturing in the UK, said: “Many Nissan staff have been moved to support our friends and colleagues in Japan in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami.

“People from across the North East have also been very generous with their messages of support and solidarity. We hope as many employers and schools as possible get involved in fund-raising activities.”

A website – www.redcross.org.uk/japannissan – has been set up to taking donations from Nissan employees, contractors and suppliers.

Anyone who would like to host a Bring £1 to Work Day or a Jeans for Japan Day should contact the Communications Section at Nissan Sunderland on 415 2815 or 415 2764.