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Press Release

11/11/2014 10:39 AM ET
Players Trust, Japan Society gather in Tokyo to spotlight earthquake relief, recovery
Press conference to be held Nov. 15 at 3:15 p.m. at Tokyo Dome

Japan Society today announced it will host a press event in Tokyo to highlight the Major League Baseball Players Trust's contribution to the Society's Japan Earthquake Relief Fund (JERF), and ongoing recovery work the fund supports.

On Saturday, Nov. 15, before the MLB All-Stars play Samurai Japan, the players, as well as representatives from Japan Society, the Players Trust and the Major League Baseball Players Association, will appear at a Tokyo Dome press event to hear from representatives of the five organizations that have received support from JERF and the Players Trust. The grant recipients will discuss their work and the challenges for continuing recovery in Tohoku, the northeastern region of Japan devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Additionally, a group of Major League Baseball players and Players Trust and Japan Society representatives will visit the Tokyo store of JERF grant recipient Fukushima Organic Agriculture Network on Friday, Nov. 14, at 10:30 a.m.

"On behalf of all Major Leaguers, I want to thank the Japan Society for all they have done to help us direct funding to the areas and organizations most in need of support," stated Jeremy Guthrie, a Trustee of the Players Trust and Kansas City Royals pitcher participating in the All-Star Tour. "I look forward to joining a number of my fellow players in Tokyo to hear first-hand how funds from the Players Trust are making a difference in the daily lives of people still trying to return to a life or normalcy. Our hope is that others -- whether in Japan or elsewhere -- take notice of the great work that our partners are doing in Tohoku, and are inspired to join this effort, as so much more remains to be done."

The following players are scheduled to join Guthrie at the press event: Chris Capuano, New York Yankees; Mark Melancon, Pittsburgh Pirates; Tsuyoshi Wada, Chicago Cubs and Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattle Mariners.

After the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, the Major League Baseball Players Trust, the philanthropic arm of the Major League Baseball Players Association, earmarked $1 million in aid for Tohoku, with the desire to support long-term recovery efforts. In October 2012, the Players Trust approached Japan Society to learn more about the work of JERF.

Impressed by the Society's achievements through JERF and the long-term commitment to recovery, the Players Trust began a multi-year partnership with the Society, supporting five projects through the fund: Ashoka Japan's Tohoku Youth Venture program, which supports high school and college student efforts to contribute to recovery in Tohoku; Fukushima Organic Agriculture Network, which supports organic farmers in Fukushima who have been adversely affected by radiation contamination; two mental health projects with the Japanese Medical Society of America -- Kokoro-no-Care Nagomi in Fukushima Prefecture and Kokoro-no-Kakehashi in Iwate Prefecture; and a leadership development project with ETIC.

"We are thankful for and honored by the generosity of the Players Trust," said Japan Society President, Motoatsu Sakurai. "Not only their financial support, but also for this unique partnership and shared concern for the long-term recovery of Tohoku. Though we are approaching the four-year anniversary of the earthquake, there is still much work ahead, and the Players Trust's initiative raises awareness at a critical moment."

To date JERF has received nearly $14 million since its inception. In 2014 alone, the fund has received over $100,000 in contributions. Including the five mentioned above, there are currently 34 active grants supporting recovery projects in Tohoku.