Japan’s entertainment and technology giant Sony has unveiled a $100 million fund to support people around the world affected by the coronavirus.
Announced on Thursday, the fund is intended to help in three areas: assistance for those individuals engaged in frontline medical efforts; support for children and educators now working remotely; and, creatives in the entertainment industry.
Sony also said that its 110,000 employees would be able to provide their support through a matching gift program.
The group said its entertainment industry efforts will be across music, pictures, games and animation. “(Sony will) seek ways to support up-and-coming creators, artists and all those in professions supporting the industry, who have been impacted by the cancellation or postponement of concerts and live events, or the shutting down of film and television productions,” it said in a statement. There were no details available.
The first disbursement from the fund is $10 million of support for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO. The fund is backed by the UN Foundation and Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, as well as Medecins Sans Frontières, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Sony will explore ways to leverage its technologies in support of education activities, and cooperate with educators to implement these measures.
“Sony extends its condolences to the families of those who have passed away as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, and extends its sympathies to all those who have been impacted,” said Kenichiro Yoshida, president and CEO, Sony Corporation. “We will do all we can as a global company to support the individuals on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19, the children who are our future, and those who have been impacted in the creative community.”
Japan has seen more than 2,500 confirmed cases of the disease, and 71 deaths, as of Thursday. But as the number of cases appears to be accelerating the Japanese government response is being increasingly criticized.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said on Wednesday, that the country was “barely holding the line” in the fight against the virus. And many commentators believe that a decision to declare a state of emergency in the country is now a question of when, not if.
Despite that government measures seem half-hearted. Abe also announced that two reusable, cloth face masks would be sent to each of Japan’s 50 million households, starting from the week after next.