Japanese Do Good Job in L.A. Philanthropy

The article "A Troubling Trend Is Seen in Japanese Corporate Giving" (Feb. 11) prompted me to point out some additional facts that should be noted. More of our Japanese colleagues are stepping forward to take leadership roles in charitable giving. There is a growing awareness that business can only prosper in the context of a healthy society. Philanthropy, especially as it relates to human-care services, is not a luxury.

Recognizing the need for continued volunteer development in the Japanese business community, United Way in 1989 began a program to identify Japan-based businesses in Los Angeles and to educate and involve Japanese business executives and their firms about the social service needs of this community.

Okitami Komada, president and CEO of Mitsui Fudosan USA Inc., was chairman of the effort the first year. In response to the campaign, 104 companies raised $1.4 million.

Jiro Ishizaka, chairman of the board of Union Bank, is heading the current campaign, which has a goal of $1.75 million. To date, 121 Japanese firms are participating.

One of the keys to attaining our objective is the support of the Japan Business Steering Committee, made of nine Japanese executives who volunteer time to contact more than 600 firms to explain the importance of the United Way and its role in the social service sector.

I have been gratified by the level of involvement on the part of the Japanese executives in our community. It has been my experience that this sector takes its role as a corporate citizen seriously and continually demonstrates its commitment to the future of Los Angles.

LEO P. CORNELIUS

President, United Way

Los Angeles

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