In the past few months Japan has experienced two disastrous floods, the first in the southern island of Kyushu in which 1,000 persons were reported dead or missing, 4,000 injured and something like 20,000 dwellings washed away or partially destroyed. The second flood, in mid July, affected the south-eastern section of the main island of Japan including the metropolitan districts of Osaka and Mie. This disaster is apparently more serious than that in Kyushu and in all some 65,000 individuals are said to have been affected, either by death, injury, or inundation of accommodation.
2. The Japanese Government and national and international relief agencies have been providing relief in Kyushu and a very substantial physical contribution has been made by United States forces in Japan. The Canadian Red Cross has made $20,000 in Canadian funds available to the Japanese Red Cross. British Commonwealth Forces in Korea have released certain supplies suitable for disaster relief. Mr. Mayhew, the Canadian Ambassador, reports that the United States military authorities have already despatched aid to the new disaster area on the main island and that the Japanese Government has inaugurated a relief programme.
3. The Ambassador has sent messages of sympathy on behalf of the Canadian Government to the appropriate Japanese authorities in connection with both floods. He reports that the Japanese budget for natural disasters amounts to only Y[en] 4 billion whereas damage in the Kyushu area alone has been privately estimated at Y[en] 150 billion ($440 million). Mr. Mayhew has emphasized the need for additional foreign assistance and has asked to be informed immediately if the Canadian Government is proposing to render immediate or long term aid.
4. Apart from the humanitarian aspect of the matter, there are a number of reasons why some gesture by Canada would be useful at this stage. Japan occupies a key position in Asia and from the point of view of our long term political interests, it would seem desirable to show that Canada is not disinterested in developments there. In connection with the possible conclusion of a trade agreement with Japan, it would also appear important to increase public awareness of our interest in that country. The presence of Canadian troops in the area may make it particularly appropriate to do something for Japan on this occasion.
5. The Canadian Red Cross Society have advised that amongst other things supplies of powdered milk and canned meat are required in the flood areas. The fact that considerable surplus stocks of these two commodities are presently held by the Canadian Government with little prospect of commercial sale may increase the desirability of making any aid available in this form.
6. Possibly, a gift of canned pork and powdered milk might, with the agreement of the Canadian Red Cross, be financed from the funds still uncommitted of the amount provided by the Canadian Government earlier this year for flood relief in the United Kingdom and the Low Countries. In this connection, the National Commissioner of the Red Cross Society has advised that of the total available for European flood relief (approximately three million dollars, including the one million dollar Government contribution), roughly one half remains uncommitted. He has advised, however, that the balance is required to finance rehabilitation projects which are coming forward. Apart from the administrative difficulty of using for Japanese flood relief, funds which have been turned over to the Red Cross for another purpose, there is a danger that expenditure of some of these monies in Japan might be misunderstood in Europe. It would appear also that a procedure of this kind might require subsequent legislative action. A suitable alternative might be to make use of the Contingency Fund of the Department of Finance.
7. It is submitted that if aid is to be provided for Japanese flood relief, it should be in an amount large enough to generate good will (say $50,000) and should be made available quickly in order to heighten the impact of the gift both in Canada and Japan.
It is recommended that:
(a) flood relief be made available to Japan in the form of canned pork and powdered milk in the amount of $50,000;
(b) the above contribution be financed from the Contingency Fund of the Department of Finance;
(c) the division of the Canadian contribution as between canned pork and powdered milk be decided by the Secretary of State for External Affairs on the basis of need, as advised by the Canadian Red Cross or the appropriate Japanese authorities;
(d) for the purposes of this gift, powdered skimmed milk, whether spray-dried or roller-dried, be obtained from the Agricultural Prices Support Board at cost, and that canned pork be procured at the price established for previous sales to relief organizations such as CARE16 (27.8 cents per pound f.o.b.17 Vancouver);
(e) authority be granted to the Secretary of State for External Affairs to arrange for the delivery of relief supplies to Japan in the most expeditious manner practicable and that the shipping charges involved be met from the funds approved for Japanese flood relief and/or by the Government of Japan if the Japanese authorities are willing to pay all or part of these costs.
Cooperative for American Relief Everywhere (formerly Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe).
Franco à bord/Free on board.