LAW WEEK COLORADO
DENVER–Two Denver attorneys with business ties in Japan are helping with fundraising efforts for families affected by the recent earthquake in the northern part of the country.
Denver international business attorney Dick Clark, a partner at Rothgerber Johnson & Lyons, has about 60 clients in the country. Clark has clients in Tokyo, as well as the Yamagata prefecture in Japan in the Tohoku region, which has long been considered a “sister state” to Colorado. Yamagata is west of the Miyagi prefecture, the hardest hit area by the earthquake and resulting tsunami.
A 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami on March 11 hit Miyagi, devastating a nuclear reactor plant in Fukushima that’s created concern of radiation poisoning in neighboring areas and as far south as Tokyo. So far, the death toll is up to 6,911 and 10,754 have been reported missing, according to recent numbers from The Japanese National Police. Although clients and colleagues in Tokyo seem to be okay, those in other areas are not, Clark said.
He told Law Week, “We work with so many lawyers in Japan and we communicate with all of them. There are several lawyers in northern Japan whose offices have been destroyed. It’s really sad.”
Denver immigration attorney Kim Chandler also has clients in Japan, as well as clients in Colorado with family there. She recently spoke with one of her clients in Yamagata, who reported that the damage isn’t as severe.
“Getting things like gas and water is still a great challenge for folks in Yamagata,” Chandler said, adding, “In comparison to the situation in the epicenter, it’s pretty negligible.”
Clark and Chandler are also involved Denver’s Japan American Society of Colorado, a cultural society that’s collaborated with Gov. John Hickenlooper, the Consulate General of Japan and other organizations to set up a fund where 100 percent of donations will go to families of victims. A target for the fund has yet to be determined. The Japan American Society in the past personally delivered funds to the city of Kobe after it was hit with an earthquake in 1995.
The Japan American Society will also hold a May 19 benefit at the Denver Botanic Gardens, and organize a senbazuru (Japanese for “1,000 cranes”) with local schools, where students will make origami cranes to send to children in northern Japan.
Donations can be made to the Japan American Society fund by visiting www.jascolorado.org/donate.php.