On February 18th, popular idol group AKB48 held a handshake event for their 23rd single “Kaze wa Fuiteiru” at the Seibu Dome in Saitama.

Right before the event started, members Maeda AtsukoOshima YukoKashiwagi Yuki, andShinoda Mariko stepped on stage to announce that they will donate another 585,259,888 yen (~$7,359,908 USD), which they collected through their “Dareka no Tame ni” project, as well as through their fundraising activities. The girls also donated a portion of their profits made from CD sales as well.

AKB48 has donated 668,916,085 yen (~$8,411,923 USD) last year through the project. Therefore, the total amount of donations from AKB48 has now reached 1,254,175,973 yen (~$15,771,831 USD).  It was also announced that they will donate 30 vehicles to Iwate, Fukushima, and Miyagi in April, with 10 vehicles to each prefecture. Those will be used as transportation vehicles for schools and kindergartens.

AKB’s support for the Tohoku earthquake victims isn’t just found in funds and goods; the members have been visiting the disaster areas every month since May 2011 for mini lives and handshake events, encouraging the citizens there to keep up their spirits.

Moreover, AKB has announced that there will be charity performances on March 11th (the day of the Tohoku disaster) at theaters in the four cities where AKB48, SKE48, NMB48, and HKT48 are based in. Though details on the charity performances will be revealed later,all members of each group will appear on the stage at each theater. They’re also considering to live broadcast the performances to the disaster areas.

At the handshake event, Oshima Yuko said to the crowd of 13,000 that, “We would like to face the disaster squarely. All of you here are also a part of the project, so let’s continue these supportive activities together.