Japanese donors pledge millions of dollars for Katrina aftermath

Japanese donors, including the country's government and some of the country's leading companies, pledged millions of dollars in aid Friday to the United States in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said the government will give US$200,000 (Ђ161,445) to the American Red Cross and is ready to provide up to US$300,000 (Ђ242,170) more in emergency supplies such as tents, blankets and power generators.

Toyota Motor Corp., Japan's largest automaker, pledged US$5 million (Ђ4.04 million) to the Red Cross and the Friedkin Disaster Relief Fund, while Nissan Motor Co. said it will offer the Red Cross $750,000 (Ђ605,000) and 50 pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles, according to Japan's Kyodo News Agency.

Panasonic, the leading brand for Osaka-based electronics maker Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., said separately that it will give US$1 million (Ђ810,000) to the aid effort, adding that it hopes for a "swift recovery."

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. said it would supply 20 million yen (US$182,000; Ђ146,916.37) in relief money and 15 floodlights powered by portable generators.

The Japanese Red Cross Society decided to provide $200,000 (Ђ161,446.56) to its U.S. counterpart, Kyodo said.

On Thursday, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi sent a letter of condolence to U.S. President George W. Bush, reports the AP.

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