Immediately after the Great East Japan Earthquake on 11 March 2011, H.H. Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Father Emir of the State of Qatar, announced a US$100 million gift to Japan, to assist relief efforts and accelerate the recovery of victims. He also ordered the formation of a 24-hour task force within Qatar Petroleum Company, to provide necessary assistance to Japan under direct supervision of H.H. Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar.
To distinguish it from the US$800+ million in aid that Qatar provides to more than 100 countries annually, this gift was given a distinct identity - the Qatar Friendship Fund (QFF). Chaired by H.E. Yousef Bilal, Qatari Ambassador to Japan, the fund operates as an independent platform with highest standards accountability mechanisms.
In addition to building a strong friendship between Japanese and Qatari people, one of the main priorities of the Qatar Friendship Fund is to provide prompt and effective assistance as directly as possible to victims of the areas affected by the disaster, through the rehabilitation of industries and infrastructure and the construction of development projects that are not funded by any other sources.
QFF supports projects that address urgent, crucial, and sustainable needs among the people of Japan to maximize its impact on the greatest number of beneficiaries. It will focus on four main priority areas over the upcoming four years (2012-2015) – child education, fisheries, healthcare, and entrepreneurship.