Great East Japan Earthquake Reconstruction Support
The Great East Japan Earthquake that stuck in March 2011 wrought severe damage across eastern Japan. ITOCHU Corporation takes a long-term view as it continues to provide support for recovery efforts.
ITOCHU Children's Dream Fund
The ITOCHU Children's Dream Fund is part of the disaster support activities that ITOCHU Corporation has been conducting since March 2013. It is aimed at providing aid to the children in the areas afflicted by the Great East Japan Earthquake. In FY2017, the following support was provided through the ITOCHU Children's Dream Fund.
We will continue to support the children's dreams in various ways going forward.
Supporting Youth Baseball by Holding the ITOCHU Children's Dreams Cup
To support the efforts of children in Rikuzentakata City, which was devastated by the disaster, the ITOCHU Children's Dreams Cup youth baseball tournament involving all five youth sports groups in the city was held twice, in spring and autumn.
The spring and autumn tournaments, held June 11-12 and October 1-2, 2016 respectively, both took place on the grounds of Rikuzentakata Otomo Elementary School, with ITOCHU Group employees also taking part in the events as volunteers. At the autumn tournament, current and former members of the Baseball Clubs from ITOCHU Group companies played friendly games and deepened exchanges with the children.
ITOCHU Children's Dreams Rugby Scrum Held
The city of Kamaishi in Iwate Prefecture, known as a "rugby town," has been selected as one of the host cities for the ninth Rugby World Cup, which will be held in Japan in 2019. To support the dreams of many Kamaishi children who aim to become rugby players, ITOCHU Corporation invited 16 elementary school students who belong to the Kamaishi Seawaves Junior team to Tokyo on November 19-20, 2016.
On their first day, the children served as child player escorts for the official professional rugby game at Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium. The next day, coached by Mr. Hidehito Izumi, a player who helped the Nippon Steel Corporation Kamaishi Rugby Club win the All-Japan Rugby Football Championship seven times, and 10 ITOCHU employee volunteers with rugby experience, they played a friendly rugby match with children from the Nerima Rugby School team, and the children deepened their bonds through rugby.
Friendly Games with Competitive Youth Baseball Teams from Fukushima Held at Jingu Stadium
ITOCHU Corporation invited children of competitive youth baseball teams in Fukushima, who even now are still living with deep anxieties that are not immediately visible, to Jingu Stadium, and conducted friendly games with Tokyo little league baseball teams on March 5, 2017. This was based on children's needs, identified by local NGOs, arising from children in Fukushima having restrictions on their outdoor activities, and not being able to practice sports as much as they would like. With the full cooperation of Meijijingu Gaien and the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, children used the same locker rooms and practice areas as the professional baseball players, given the experience of being a professional baseball player for one day.
The rubber baseball game between Onahama Junior Baseball Club and Redsuns (Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo) ended in a 0-0 draw following a pitching duel. The hardball game between Fukushima Little and Kodaira Little ended with a walk-off win by Kodaira Little 4 to 5. After the games, the children enjoyed a lunch provided by FamilyMart with employee volunteers of ITOCHU, including members of ITOCHU Group's baseball club, and other people.
ITOCHU Children's Dream Snowboard School Held
On February 4, 2017, the ITOCHU Children's Dream Snowboard School was held at the Urabandai Ski Resort in Fukushima prefecture as a gift to children from Iwate, Fukushima, Miyagi, and Ibaraki prefectures who dream of being snowboarders. The event was supported by Ski Association of Japan, and snowboarders including Olympians Natsuko Oshida (Vancouver Olympics) and Michiyo Hashimoto (Salt Lake City Olympics), as well as Hayato Imai, Futa Adachi, Kaito Suzuki, and Hyuga Hashimoto, took part in the school as instructors. In the morning, the children received lessons designed to develop general snowboarding skills. In the afternoon, a timed race was held as an opportunity to show the results of the lessons. In the lessons given by professionals, the children's eyes were shinning with the valuable experience that made them dream of becoming snowboarders. Those children with top placings received Japanese snowboard team uniforms by AIRWALK, a brand for which ITOCHU owns the master licensing rights.
ITOCHU Kodomo no Yume English Summer Camp in Rikuzentakata held as the Fourth Phase of ITOCHU Children's Dreams Fund
Over two days on July 30 and 31, 2016, the "ITOCHU Kodomo no Yume English Summer Camp in Rikuzentakata" was held. With ten employee volunteers from ITOCHU Corporation, a total of 26 children, from fourth year elementary school students through to first year junior high school students gathered in response to a public call , joined with 20 university students, including international students from the United States and elsewhere as well as returning Japanese students studying at universities such as Rikkyo University and Iwate University, which have signed collaborative agreements with Rikuzentakata City on regional revitalization and other areas, enjoyed a summer camp in English together with ten employee volunteers from ITOCHU Corporation. English was used as the language for communication during the two-day camp, which gave the children an opportunity to come into contact with different cultures through sports and activities often seen at American summer camps, such as camp fires.
Collaborating with TMSO (Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra) on supports for the affected areas through music
ITOCHU Corporation and the TMSO have been collaborating on supports for the affected areas through music since FY2014.
Together with the TMSO, ITOCHU cosponsored the TMSO × ITOCHU Class Concert 2017 which was held on January 16-17, in order to cheer up children who were hit hard by the earthquake in Fukushima prefecture. For this third event, Members of the TMSO visited and held string quartet classroom-style concerts at Katsurao Elementary School, Tomioka Daiichi and Daini Elementary Schools and Namie Junior High School, where some students need to travel extended periods from various locations because temporary school buildings have been erected on the grounds of old factory sites or condemned schools, as well as Kawauchi Elementary School, which despite being re-opened, has only a third of its original student population. In the classroom-style concerts, the students were taught how to play the violin by the performers. Then, while giving explanations in a quiz type, the musicians played famous pieces such as "The Nutcracker" from Tchaikovsky. Finally, there was a joint session with the chorus "Believe" and "To the Light of the Future", an original song written by Namie Junior High School students.
For FY2017, in addition to the class concert, on February 22, ITOCHU also collaborated with the TMSO in holding the concert "Boku-to-Watashi-to-Orchestra (You, I and the Orchestra): Let's Unite Together by the Rings of Music♪," with the participation of about 3,600 elementary and junior high school students in Iwaki City. The large chorus of students singing together along with the orchestra allowed them to enjoy sharing an emotional experience with friends. In addition, nine students from Katsurao Elementary School, which was visited for the class concert, were invited to the performance. Afterward, they had an excellent time interacting with the conductor, playing quiz games, taking a tour around the hall and experiencing a surprise performance by the orchestra members.
ITOCHU Takata no Yume Project
ITOCHU Corporation supports sales of the Takata no Yume (Takata's dream) brand of rice launched by Rikuzentakata City in 2012 through its food material sales company ITOCHU Food Sales and Marketing Co., Ltd.
Since the autumn of 2013, the city of Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture, which suffered enormous tsunami damage, has been striving to establish Takata no Yume as a local brand of rice to ensure regional competitiveness and symbolize the revitalization of its agriculture. Under the project, volunteer employees from the ITOCHU Group engage in exchanges with local farmers in the production process. We provided ongoing support in FY2017 from planting in May to the harvest in October. In addition, to increase the visibility of Takata no Yume, we have instituted a number of PR measures, including one involving restaurants around the Tokyo Head Office. On March 11, 2017, a food fair featuring Rikuzentakata City was held at ITOCHU AOYAMA ART SQUARE, and employee volunteers of ITOCHU Corporation presented Takata no Yume to visitors together with city officials of Rikuzentakata.
Utilizing the platforms and expertise of the ITOCHU Group, we support the disaster-affected region through the project by providing assistance from production through to sales to ensure the success of Takata no Yume.
Activities to Support Disaster-Affected Areas through the ITOCHU Foundation
Activities with the ITOCHU Foundation in Tohoku for Sending Picture Books to Southeast Asia
Shanti Volunteer Association engages in activities of sending Japanese picture books to children in Southeast Asia, by affixing labels showing text translated into local languages on the picture books. Every week, employee volunteers of ITOCHU affix the labels on the picture books together with the ITOCHU Foundation by using a dedicated kit purchased from Shanti Volunteer Association. Since FY2015, these activities have been expanded to children in areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. In FY2017, a total of 462 people took part in these activities at 16 locations including family libraries, libraries, and elementary, junior high, and high schools in Fukushima, Iwate, and Miyagi Prefectures with the support of seven organizations promoting children's book reading locally.
The 100 Children's Books Grant Conducted with Shareholders
Since FY2013, ITOCHU Corporation cooperated to ITOCHU Foundation's activity of subsidizing development of children's literature, by donating the money of paper costs and postage fees saved through shareholders' consent to receive shareholder information electronically.
In FY2017, a total of 4,958 shareholders agreed to this initiative. By utilizing the money saved and the same amount of money matched by ITOCHU Corporation, ITOCHU Foundation sent new sets of books via local book stores to the following ten schools in areas significantly damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Touni Elementary School (Kamaishi City), Johoku Elementary School (Morioka City), Funakoshi Elementary School (Yamada Town)
Onagawa Elementary School (Onagawa Town), Yuriage Elementary School (Natori City), Sakamoto Elementary School (Yamamoto Town), Arahama Elementary School (Watari Town)
Soma Municipal Iitoyo Elementary School (Soma City), Ono Municipal Iitoyo Elementary School (Ono Town), Yumoto Third Elementary School (Iwaki City)
Other Activities to Support Recovery Efforts
Food Fair Featuring Rikuzentakata City, Iwate, and Other Events Held at ITOCHU AOYAMA ART SQUARE to Support Reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake
On March 11, a food fair featuring the produce of Rikuzentakata City was held with the participation of city officials of Rikuzentakata as sales staff. Various foodstuffs from Rikuzentakata, including kelp, soy sauce, apples, tomatoes, and other local specialties, along with Takata no Yume, a local brand of rice that the ITOCHU Group supports, were on sale at the event. Employee volunteers from ITOCHU Corporation and ITOCHU Food Sales and Marketing Co., Ltd. which sells food ingredients, worked alongside the city officials as sales staff. Freshly puffed rice made using Takata no Yume, which was professionally cooked on site, and boxed lunches featuring rice balls of Takata no Yume made by a restaurant in the neighboring area, were among the products that proved highly popular with visitors. Many customers asked about the current conditions of Rikuzentakata City, such as the recent state of the city. In this way, the event encouraged numerous interactions made via food.
On the same day, an art exhibition by Get in touch also opened at ITOCHU AOYAMA ART SQUARE. Get in touch is a general incorporated association represented by Chizuru Azuma, an actress, and conducts ongoing PR activities with the objective of raising awareness of minorities dealing with afflictions in life. The art exhibition was held with the wish that "Let's make a society where people understand about minorities daily in preparation for emergency situations." The event included a special exhibition of an artwork entitled "Kibou no Ippon-matsu (a pine tree of hope)" by Asuka Tasaki, an artist with a disability who resides in Rikuzentakata City. In addition, a moment of silence was observed following time signal, and "Gareki to Radio (rubble and radio)," a movie for supporting disaster-affected areas, was shown. In this way, visitors to ITOCHU AOYAMA ART SQUARE felt sympathy for the affected areas on the day.