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Arashi member Aiba offers donation to help Chiba Pref. recover from typhoon damage

Arashi member Masaki Aiba, right, hands a 60 million yen donation record to Toru Ishikawa of the Chiba Prefectural Government's general planning division, at the prefectural government headquarters in Chiba's Chuo Ward on the morning of Sept. 24, 2019. (Mainichi/Yuki Machino)

CHIBA -- Masaki Aiba, a member of the popular boy band Arashi, visited the Chiba Prefectural Government offices on Sept. 24 and offered a 60 million yen donation on behalf of the group to go toward the prefecture's recovery from damage caused by Typhoon Faxai in early September.

Aiba handed over a record of the donation to Toru Ishikawa, head of the general planning division of the prefectural government.

"I'm really worried," Aiba said. "I'd like to think about what we can do, and continue to provide assistance."

Aiba hails from the city of Chiba, and on television programs in the past his activities have included introducing farmers in the prefecture east of Tokyo. He is said to have strong feelings for the prefecture.

Soon after Typhoon Faxai, this year's 15th, hit Chiba Prefecture, Aiba visited affected areas including the city of Minamiboso. He appeared shocked that the disaster had left many homes without power or water. "From my experience, I can't believe that the typhoon caused this damage," he was quoted as saying.

The donation to the prefectural government comes from proceeds of a charity event titled "Arashi no Waku Waku Gakko," which started as a way to help Japan recover from the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing tsunamis. It is held every year in June. Aiba made his visit to the prefectural government headquarters on behalf of the members of Arashi. The other members are Jun Matsumoto, Kazunari Ninomiya, Satoshi Ohno and Sho Sakurai,

"There are still many people who are suffering," Aiba said in a message to prefectural residents. "I hope that they can quickly return to their normal lives."

(Japanese original by Yuki Machino, Chiba Bureau)

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