In the aftermath of 3/11, the United States and Japan have a renewed commitment to their longstanding friendship in the form of the new Tomodachi initiative. You may have read recently about Lady Gaga’s auctioning of the teacup from which she drank during her visit just ten weeks after the Great East Japan Earthquake. The final bid raised 6 million yen ($75,000) to support Japan’s recovery in educational and cultural programs, especially for young people from the Honshu region. The tea cup includes LG’s autograph and, of course, a lipstick kiss. Last month, The Japan Times (April 20, 2012) reported the following:
Five Japanese firms have contributed about ¥320 million to set up a fund for students hit by the earthquake and tsunami disaster in March 2011 and promote Japan-U.S. cultural exchanges, according to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. The Tomodachi Fund for Exchanges, a U.S.-led initiative to provide aid to quake-hit high school students seeking to study in the United States, is launched at a ceremony Wednesday in Tokyo. The Tomodachi Fund for Exchanges, launched as part of a U.S.-led public-private initiative called Tomodachi (Friends), will provide aid to quake-hit high school students seeking to study in the United States and to support bilateral exchanges through music and sports. Toyota Motor Corp., Mitsubishi Corp., Hitachi Ltd., Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. contributed to the fund.