The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

In 2015, the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) chapters in Tokyo, Chubu, and Kansai donated over ¥28 million to charitable organizations in their communities. Of the total, ¥11.95 million was generated from the annual ACCJ Charity Ball.

Representatives from the nine beneficiary charities gathered at the ACCJ Tokyo offices on January 28 to network and discuss how donated funds were being used.

Three organizations receive funding every year as part of the Mike Makino Fund for the Homeless, which honors the late ACCJ leader who sensitized members to the plight of the homeless in Tokyo: the Franciscan Chapel Center (FCC) rice ministry, the Tokyo Union Church Mission for Our Homeless Neighbors (MOHN), and Sanyukai. ACCJ Tokyo also regularly supports the YMCA–ACCJ Ohisama Camp for Handicapped Children.

Katherine Hall, from the FCC, said, “We’re really grateful for [the ACCJ contribution], which is probably our single largest donation at this point.” Takeshi Shimizu of MOHN agreed, noting that the church could feed 2,508 people last year through its onigiri deliveries and monthly luncheons. Shimizu now handles the MOHN program, which was formerly led by the charismatic Paul Fukuda, who passed away suddenly last year.

Sanyukai also organizes onigiri preparation and deliveries in the Sanya area around Tokyo Skytree, but its main mission is to look after the medical needs of homeless in the precinct. The annual ACCJ funding goes toward the purchase of medical equipment and medicine for the Sanya clinic, which is staffed by volunteer doctors.

It is estimated that 5 to 7 percent of Japanese children under 18 face developmental disabilities, and government support is minimal. ACCJ funds cover one-third of the total cost of the YMCA Ohisama Camp, which is much higher than the cost of a standard camp. Twice as many leaders must be trained, to properly care for the special-needs children attending.

Other charities supported through the 2015 Charity Ball include Lighthouse Japan, the Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund, Living Dreams, the Global Education Foundation, and the Foundation for Global Children. The latter three were first-time recipients of ACCJ funding from the Kanto chapter. Last year’s Charity Ball proceeds were targeted at supporting children—particularly their educational needs—Tohoku disaster victims, and the homeless of Japan.


There are many ways to engage in CSR as an individual or company, beyond monetary donations (though cash is always needed and welcomed).

Make and/or distribute onigiri
Join pre-arranged sessions or organize a corporate onigiri preparation outing at the FCC or Tokyo Union Church, both in Minato Ward, or through Sanyukai in the Sanya area. Distribution typically occurs in early morning hours, and volunteers with access to vehicles are especially needed.

Donate used or new goods
Bring your leftover amenities from hotels and airlines to the FCC or Foundation for Global Children (FGC). FGC also accepts goods that can be used in camp-style dormitories such as sleeping bags, canned goods, and bottled water. The FCC also accepts donations of items useful to life on the street, particularly for men. The Global Education Foundation needs new and used PCs and graphing calculators.

Offer IT training or fill office roles
Living Dreams needs volunteers to carry out administrative functions at its office and also give IT training to young people in group homes.

Serve lunch
Tokyo Union Church needs 30 people each month to serve at its regular luncheons for homeless neighbors, scheduled for the third Saturday of each month.