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Coca-Cola donates US$31m towards Japan Reconstruction Fund

By Helen Glaberson, 29-Mar-2011

Related topics: Business, Beverages

Beverage giant Coca-Cola is donating 2.5bn Yen (US$31m) to areas affected by the tsunami, earthquake and nuclear disaster that hit the country this month.

Coca Cola said it is establishing the Coca-Cola Japan Reconstruction Fund and that it will increase its donation by more than four times the 600m Yen (US$7.3m) it originally pledged.

The money will go towards relief and rebuilding efforts in the country over the next three years.

Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company said it will also open the fund globally to enable all of its employees to make contributions which will then be matched by the company.

“Given our nearly 60-year proud presence in Japan and our strong relationship with its people, we want to do everything we can to contribute to the rebuilding effort as we shift our focus from immediate relief efforts to reconstruction and infrastructure rebuilding in the coming weeks and months,” said Kent.

The CEO said the fund would mainly go towards rebuilding of schools and other community facilities that support children impacted by the disaster.

As part of its donation, Coca-Cola is distributing more than 7 million bottles of beverages, such as water, tea and sports drinks, to national and local government authorities and other community groups.

Pressure to provide

Meanwhile the bulk-buying of bottled water in Japan is putting increasing pressure on Japan’s biggest beverage producers who are already operating at full capacity, according to Bloomberg.

The public have been rushing to buy bottled water since Japan’s government reported traces of radioactive iodine from Fukushima tap water in Tokyo, although the government said at the time that the health risks would be minimal.

Reports claim that panic rose last Wednesday in the country when the government said radioactive iodine levels were too high for infant consumption, but by Thursday the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said Tokyo's tap water was safe enough for infants to drink.

Companies are increasing their shipments to the area in northeastern Japan hit by the tsunami where there are more than 250,000 people in evacuation centers.

Coca-Cola (Japan) Co has been operating all of its seven mineral-water plants in Japan at full capacity since the March 11 earthquake, a company spokeswoman said last Thursday.

Yukio Edano, chief cabinet secretary, said the country was considering various possibilities to ensure water supply, including boosting imports.