InsideJapan Tours has raised more than £18,500 within three weeks of setting up a tsunami relief fund.

The specialist Japan tour operator aims to raise £25,000 in total to help victims of last month’s disaster. Money raised will go to Civic Force, a charity established to respond to large scale natural disasters in Japan.

A spokesman for the company said that fellow Association of Independent Tour Operators member Collett’s Mountain Holidays was among those to make a “generous” donation to the fund.

He added: “One of the best things about the fundraising is not only the amount of people that have donated or the amounts they donate, but the huge amount of heartfelt messages that they are writing.”

He added the operator was confident it would reach its target, while InsideJapan staff are also planning fundraising activities in the near future for Civic Force.

The operator said sales had slowed due to the disaster and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s travel ban on all but essential travel to Tokyo and north east Japan.

The spokesman said: “The vast majority of customers would have travelled with us if the FCO advice for Tokyo was not in place, even with the events in Fukushima. We feel the advice for Tokyo is unjustified at this point in time as all of our people on the ground in Japan’s capital say that life is running pretty much as normal.”