Iconic Buildings Shine Japan’s Colors to Encourage Relief Effort

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REUTERS / Lucas Jackson

The Empire State Building, lit in red and white as part of a coordinated effort by several landmark buildings around the world to raise awareness for the disaster in Japan, is pictured in New York on April 4, 2011

In a show of solidarity with the stricken island nation, landmarks across the world glowed the red and white of Japan’s national flag beginning Monday evening.

The expression of international support was led by New York City’s Empire State Building, whose upper decks lit up with Japan’s chosen colors at sunset. “We are proud that buildings around the globe have agreed to join our efforts to raise awareness for earthquake and tsunami relief in Japan,” Anthony E. Malkin of the Empire State Building Company said in a statement.

(More on TIME.com: See exclusive pictures of the devastation in Japan)

Among the celebrated structures that followed suit were Toronto’s CN Tower, Chicago’s John Hancock Observatory, Auckland’s Sky Tower, Montreal’s Olympic Tower, South Korea’s N Seoul Tower, Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth, the Macau Tower and Kuala Lumpur’s soaring Menara.

Participating towns were hoping that the loud visual cues would remind residents to donate to reputable aid efforts in Japan, which is still reeling from the deadly impact of a 9.0-magnitude earthquake, an ensuing tsunami and a nuclear crisis. The disasters have left over 10,000 dead and 17,000 missing, by Tokyo’s official estimates, and may have caused over $300 billion in damages.

The Empire State Building has flashed red and white on the Asian nation’s behalf before—once in celebration of Japan’s 2009 World Baseball Classic victory, and a second time in June of 2010, 150 years after Japan’s first diplomatic mission to the United States arrived in New York City. But on April 4 the wide-reaching lights were shone not just as an honorific display, but also a spark to action. (via the Herald Sun)

(More on TIME.com: See how you can help earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan)