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The San Francisco Giants have long-established ties with Japan, so it's only natural the club would reach out to the disaster-ridden country during its biggest crisis since World War II.

The team announced Wednesday that it and the Giants Community Fund would donate $12,500 to the Northern Japan Earthquake Relief Fund, which has been established by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Northern California.

An earthquake and tsunami hit the Tohoku region of Northern Japan on Friday. More than 4,000 have died and more than 8,000 are missing.

The photo on the right is simply a devastated baseball field. It can be replaced. But with the situation seemingly worsening by the moment, every bit of aid helps.

The Giants are encouraging their fans to visit KokuaJapan.org and make donations on their own.

The Giants also plan to collect donations for relief and recovery efforts when the team returns to AT&T Park on March 28 for an exhibition game against the Oakland Athletics.

The Giants also host an annual Japanese Heritage Night, and when it comes around June 3, the team says "proceeds from the sales of tickets to the game versus the Colorado Rockies will be donated to the relief efforts" in Japan.

"It is our intention to spread the word amongst our fans and raise awareness for the many ways they can assist the people of Japan," said Larry Baer, Giants president and chief operating officer, in a statement.

The San Francisco area has a large population of Japanese descent, but Major League Baseball — and the Giants in particular — have links to Japanese baseball. Left-hander Masanori Murakami, the first Japanese national to play in the majors, pitched for the Giants in 1964 and '65. The Yomiuri team of the Central League, for which Saduharu Oh played, share a nickname — the Giants — with San Francisco's MLB club.

On the surface, these might not seem like terribly compelling reasons to donate to Japan. But if you have been on the fence about contributing, maybe it helps to remember how much we have in common with the people there. And they need our help.

The Giants say in a statement that the JCCNC works closely with the National YMCAs of Japan and other non-governmental organizations that will "ensure 100 percent of the donations" to this fund go to citizen relief efforts.

Another place you can go to help: MercyCorps. They have done good works in Haiti and elsewhere.

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