The purpose of the organization was to coordinate efforts in occupied Japan and have a single point of contact with the military authorities (SCAP) which refused to deal with the member organizations, such as the Catholic Church, on a one to one basis.
LARA was operational 1946-1952 and sent large amounts of food and clothing to Japan, by December 1949 more than 10 million tonnes had been sent.
LARA was initially the only non-governmental relief organization allowed to operate in Japan, although beginning in late 1947 CARE Packages (U.S. Army ten-in-One rations) from CARE were also distributed. In 1949 UNICEF began distributing milk to Japanese schoolchildren, although the cost for this was charged to the Japanese government.
The member organizations included amongst others:
Roughly 20% of the aid was donated by Nikkei and Japanese nationals.