As news of the March 11 disaster spread, Nissan employees around the world mobilized quickly in support of the stricken areas. Nissan offices overseas held Japan Days and other special events to raise money for relief and reconstruction efforts in Japan. Production lines were halted at Nissan factories and employees observed periods of silence to show respect for those who had lost their lives.
Employees took part in fund-raising activities organized with the cooperation of the local Red Cross, non-profit organizations, and local communities. Together with "matching gifts" (a donation from the company equivalent to the amount raised by employees), these efforts raised €730,000 from Europe, RMB320,000 from China, and $1,740,000 from the Americas. Additional donations included US$300,000 from Edaran Tan Chong Motor Sdn Bhd of Malaysia, AU$100,000 from Nissan Motor Co. (Australia), NT$10,000,000 from Yulon Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (Taiwan), and €500,000 from Renault in France (including donations from employees).
As the full extent of the damage in northeastern Japan emerged, there were calls from employees, particularly in Europe, for a gesture that would go beyond simple monetary donations to lift the spirits of people of Japan, and particularly of colleagues at Nissan's Iwaki Plant, which was seriously damaged in the disaster. The result was an origami crane project undertaken by employees and their families in the United Kingdom, France, and Spain.
"Seeing what was happening in Japan and not being able to do anything to help was extremely frustrating," said one employee from France. "But there was something calming about the physical act of folding the cranes." Other employee said: "This was my first time at folding paper cranes. The children helped out too, and concentrated really hard. It's quite fiddly work." Several employees said they wanted people in Japan to know that they had the thoughts and support of their colleagues and friends around the world. These feelings of solidarity were folded into each paper crane. More than 1,000 cranes from Nissan offices in Europe were delivered to the Nissan Iwaki Plant in Fukushima Prefecture as a sign of the international ties that link all Nissan employees around the world.
Nissan's Iwaki Plant was seriously damaged in the disaster, but production was partially restored little more than a month under the slogan Ganbappe Iwaki, meaning "Keep Strong, Iwaki!" in the local dialect. In addition to the hard work and determination of employees from the Iwaki Plant and affiliated companies, workers dispatched from Nissan factories around Japan helped to get the production lines running again. The thousand paper cranes from Europe also boosted morale, as a reminder of the strong ties with Nissan employees in the rest of the world.
This impressive comeback made the Iwaki Plant a fitting symbol of the Fukushima recovery effort, and the factory was chosen as the venue for the closing day of the "Live Fukushima Wind and Rock Super Nomaoi" music event, held over six days from September 14 to 19. In addition to the thousand paper cranes sent by employees in Europe, the factory's guest hall was decorated with large cards bearing messages of support from Nissan offices around the world. These best wishes for a speedy recovery were conveyed to more than 2,000 people who attended the concerts.