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Government of Japan gifts NOAA $5 million to address tsunami marine debris

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  • Government of Japan gifts NOAA $5 million to address tsunami marine debris
    Government of Japan gifts NOAA $5 million to address tsunami marine debris

    November 30, 2012

    The Government of Japan announced today a gift of $5 million to the United States, through NOAA’s Marine Debris Program, to support efforts in response to marine debris washing ashore in the U.S. from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

    The funds will be used to support marine debris response efforts, such as removal of debris, disposal fees, cleanup supplies, detection and monitoring. NOAA anticipates distributing funds to affected regions as the funds are received from Japan and will work to determine immediate needs and plan for future applications.

    Since the disaster, NOAA has been leading efforts with federal, state and local partners to coordinate a response, collect data, assess the debris and reduce possible impacts to natural resources and coastal communities.

    “We are extremely grateful to Japan for its generous support to the American people. The tragedy set in motion by the earthquake and tsunami continues to be tangible, but it brought our nations together. This gift is a powerful reminder of the goodwill, friendship and spirit of mutual support between our people,” said Jane Lubchenco, PhD., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and administrator of NOAA. “We appreciate this partnership and collaboration with Japan as we work to keep our ocean and coasts healthy.”

    Debris from the disaster has drifted across the Pacific and reached shorelines in the U.S. and Canada. In July, NOAA provided $50,000 each to Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and California to support response efforts.

    Items from the tsunami that have drifted to U.S. shores include sports balls, a floating dock, buoys and vessels. Mariners and the public can help report debris by emailing DisasterDebris @ with information on significant sightings. For the latest information on tsunami debris please visit: Japan Tsunami Marine Debris.

    NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us at and join us on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels.

    Additional Statements:

    “We’re pleased that Japanese government is providing funds to help agencies in California and the other states affected by tsunami debris offset some of our response and cleanup costs, particularly at a time when state and local budgets are tight,” said Mark Ghilarducci of the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA), which coordinates overall state-agency emergency preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation efforts in California. “The funds provided by the Japanese government, combined with the $50,000 previously allocated by NOAA, will help relieve some of the financial burden that response and cleanup has placed on California agencies and taxpayers. We look forward to working with our local, state and federal partners to restore life along the coast to normal as quickly as possible and to meet the challenges ahead.”
    Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI):
    “The people of the CNMI have been concerned with the debris discovered in some of the coastal states' shorelines. While there are currently no reported discoveries in the CNMI yet, we remain vigilant because of our very close proximity to Japan,” said Benigno R. Fitial, CNMI Governor. “We thank Japan for its generosity and we take comfort in knowing that NOAA’s Marine Debris Program will have this funding source for those affected or will be affected.”
    “Oregonians appreciate this gesture of goodwill from the people of Japan. The Misawa dock landing on our shore was a reminder of the tsunami’s devastation, but also of the ocean our two nations share,” said Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber.
    “In the wake of the devastating tsunami, this commitment by the government of Japan is an ongoing demonstration of the nation’s continued contributions to the international community,” said Governor Chris Gregoire. “It’s also a true indication of their friendship and generosity. Their assistance will help our coastal communities respond to possible increases in debris and protect our coastal environment. We continue to offer our condolences for the tragedy that claimed so many lives and the need for so much rebuilding in Japan, and continue to admire the strength, commitment and resilience of the Japanese people.”
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