TOKYO, April 3 (UPI) -- The Japanese Red Cross has collected more than $1 billion for earthquake relief but has handed out no funds directly to victims, the government said Sunday.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano called for speeding up the process, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The Red Cross has sent more than 200 aid teams to the disaster zone and organized thousands of volunteers to assist victims. But no displaced people have yet received cash handouts.
"Normally, donations are disbursed through local governments that rely on independent committees to decide on the conditions for dividing up the money," Edano said. "But this time, the central government has a role to play."
Tomohide Atsumi, head of one volunteer network, said the Red Cross has "a policy of equity and places a high value on equality, and it takes times to assess damages."
He said his organization used funds collected right after the March 11 disaster to buy supplies for evacuees and bus volunteers to help victims.
"The drive to be organized is very strong in our society, but people are not good at socially improvising," Atsumi said. "I like to use the metaphor of classical music versus jazz. Our traditional disaster response is like classical music. … Disaster relief should be more like jazz."