ITOCHU Corporation has been involved in many activities to support the recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred in March 2011. For details of the activities in chronological order, please click here.
Support Immediately after the Great East Japan Earthquake
The Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred on Friday, March 11, 2011, caused widespread damage throughout eastern Japan. Immediately after the earthquake, ITOCHU Corporation provided support to the affected areas in the form of monetary donations and supplies, and established a system for employee volunteers to assist in reconstruction efforts.
Donation and Material Support Immediately after the Earthquake
On March 14, immediately after the earthquake, ITOCHU Corporation decided and announced a donation of 400 million yen for the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Of the monetary donations of 400 million yen made by ITOCHU, one part we used to support a wide range of activities in those areas hardest hit by the earthquake and tsunami through the local governments of Miyagi Prefecture, Iwate Prefecture, Fukushima Prefecture, Ibaraki Prefecture and Aomori Prefecture. Another part of the donations was made through an NPO, JAPAN PLATFORM, a consortium of NPOs, the business community, and representatives from government agencies. This part was used to fund the activities of NPOs working on the ground. In response to a request from the disaster headquarters in the affected areas, we provided a total of 10,000 items of underwear, children’s clothing, and towels, as well as 72,000 cans* of SPAM® (canned meat).
- Of which, 36,000 cans were donated by Hormel Foods of the U.S., the manufacturer of SPAM®, and delivered to the affected areas via our company.
Employee Support for Earthquake Disaster Volunteer Activities
In May 2011, immediately after the disaster, we temporarily expanded volunteer leave from three to five days to make it easier for employees to participate in earthquake volunteer activities. We supported their participation in volunteer programs run by such organizations as Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) and Kansai Economic Federation. In December of the same year, the ITOCHU Group launched its own support program and established a system under which the company subsidized transportation, accommodation, and other expenses. By 2017, a total of approximately 500 people had used the support program and were involved in reconstruction support activities as volunteers.
ITOCHU Children’s Dream Fund
The ITOCHU Children’s Dream Fund was part of the disaster support activities that ITOCHU Corporation conducted since March 2013. It is aimed at supporting the children in the areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake to dream. We supported children’s dreams in various ways.
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 a year in spring and autumn every year from 2014 until the 11th tournament in 2018.
In 2018, the final year of the tournament, the spring and autumn tournaments, held May 28 - June 10 and September 23-24, respectively, both took place on the grounds of Rikuzentakata Otomo Elementary School.
In the final autumn tournament, all five of the city’s sportsmen’s teams participated. The final game was a heated match between the Yokota Youth Baseball Team and the Yonezaki Little Youth Baseball Team ended in a 1-8 win for Yonezaki Little, which broke its record for consecutive championships. Six volunteers from the ITOCHU Group also participated in the tournament, deepening exchanges with the children in exchange games and making the tournament a great success. The ITOCHU Children’s Dreams Cup helped to revitalize the city of Rikuzentakata, bringing dreams and energy to the local people and the youth baseball players who have the potential to become future Koshien baseball players.
Friendly Games with Competitive Youth Baseball Teams from Fukushima Held at Jingu Stadium
We found the children’s needs in Fukushima as identified by local NGOs that they had restrictions on their outdoor activities, and were not able to practice sports as much as they would like. Therefore, for three years from 2017 to 2019, we invited a strong youth baseball team from Fukushima Prefecture to play an exchange game with a youth baseball team from Tokyo at Meiji Jingu Baseball Stadium, the home of professional baseball, which is a symbol of the children’s dream. 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.
In March 2017, the Onahama Youth Baseball Team draws at the end of a pitching duel with Red Sands, and Fukushima Little and Kodaira Little’s match was 4-5, the Kodaira Little’s walked–off victory. After the baseball games, ITOCHU Group employees and volunteers from the ITOCHU’s Baseball Club deepened exchanges with the children.
In 2018, an exchange game was held on February 25 between the Onahama Youth Baseball Team from Fukushima Prefecture and the Nine Stars from Tokyo, with the result 3-0 in favor of the Nine Stars. In 2019, on February 24, the Haramachi Junior Mets, a strong youth baseball team from Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, faced the Fudo Pirates, a team from Meguro-ku, Tokyo, in a heated game that neither side relented, with the Fukushima team winning 4-3. Every year, the exchange party after the heated game was enlivened by the ITOCHU Sogo-kai Baseball Club volunteers and everyone then bonded over a baseball quiz and question time.
ITOCHU Children’s Dream Snowboard School Held
In FYE 2016 and 2017, we held the ITOCHU Children’s Dream Snowboard Class for children in Tohoku who dream of becoming snowboarders.
In FYE 2016, the school was held at the Grandeco Snow Resort in Fukushima Prefecture, with a total of nine domestic Olympic team members, including Nagano and Salt Lake Olympic team members and Ikumi Imai, a candidate for the next Olympics, as instructors. Children received instruction on snowboarding technique from these athletes in the morning and took part in a jump contest in the afternoon to show off their moves. The athletes grading the performance were overjoyed by the marvelous improvements they saw.
In FYE 2017, held at the Urabandai Ski Resort in Fukushima prefecture on February 4, 2017, the event was supported by Ski Association of Japan. 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.
In both FYE 2016 and 2017, the winners were presented with Japanese snowboarding national team uniforms by AIRWALK, a brand for which ITOCHU owns the master licensing rights.
Collaborating with Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra (TMSO) on Supports for the Affected Areas through Music
In cooperation with the TMSO, we have conducted disaster relief activities with music for three years since FY2015 to encourage children in Fukushima Prefecture, which was severely damaged by the earthquake.
In FYE 2015, we held a total of four “TMSO×ITOCHU Class Concerts,” a class-style string quartet concert by the TMSO on January 27 and 28, 2015. These were for elementary and junior high school students in Naraha and Hirono, which are located within the 30 km zone of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, to experience real music up close and personal. Naraha Kita and Minami Elementary Schools and Naraha Junior High School in Naraha were designated as evacuation order preparation zones at the time, so the concerts were held in the gymnasium of a temporary school building on the grounds of Iwaki Meisei University in Chuo-Oaino, Iwaki City, while Hirono Elementary School and Hirono Junior High School in Hirono Machi were held in classrooms.
Continuing on from last year, the second concert held this year was a way to cheer up children who were hit hard by the earthquake in Fukushima Prefecture.
In FYE 2016, the second year of the program, concerts were performed in two schools for the disabled students in Iwaki (Iwaki Special Needs School and Taira Special Needs School) and two junior high schools (Kawauchi Junior High School and Hirono Junior High School) located within 30 km of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. In total, four string quartet concerts were held by the TMSO. The concerts included pieces from a wide range of genres, from classical to jazz, and the Japanese folk song “Yagibushi” and “Let It Go” from the Disney film Frozen were played. The students also sang “Believe” with the orchestra, and time was allotted to give them hands-on experience playing the violin with some of the musicians. In brief, some cheerfulness was brought to the afflicted region through music.
In FYE 2017, on January 16-17, 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 FYE 2017, 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.
ITOCHU Children’s Dreams Rugby Scrum
The city of Kamaishi in Iwate Prefecture, known as a “rugby town,” selected as one of the host cities for the ninth Rugby World Cup 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 belonged 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.
ITOCHU Children’s Dream English Summer Camp in Rikuzentakata
For three years, from FYE 2015 to FYE 2017, we conducted an English summer camp for children in Rikuzentakata City during their annual summer vacation.
The first “English Camp” was held with the help of SCOA (SPORTS CAMP OF AMERICA), an English sports camp organizer, on August 1-2, 2014. 21 students from 5th grade to 3rd grade in junior high school, who were gathered from the general public, participated in the camp with 13 students from the United States. Under the guidance of "English Camp" counselors, they had the opportunity to experience different cultures through various sports and activities commonly held at summer camps in the United States.
In FYE 2016, as in the previous year, 17 SCOA university student athletes came to Japan for two days from July 31 to August 1 to enjoy various sports, dance and campfire with 26 students from 4th grade to 1st grade of junior high school in Rikuzentakata City. 10 employee volunteers from ITOCHU Corporation also joined the group and worked together with the children, who were still living in post-earthquake temporary housing, as trading company personnel to help the children become familiar with different cultures and English, and broaden their perspectives not only in Japan but also in the world.
The third camp was held on July 30 and 31, 2016, with 10 ITOCHU volunteers. 26 people from the general public, ranging from 4th grade elementary school students to 1st grade junior high school students living in Rikuzentakata City, and 20 university students, comprising from US universities such as the University of Alaska and international students studying at Japanese universities such as Rikkyo University and Iwate University, enjoyed a two-day camp in English.
ITOCHU Takata no Yume Project
ITOCHU Corporation supported 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 engaged in exchanges with local farmers in the production process. From FYE 2014 through FYE 2020, we continuously participated in and supported rice planting in May and the rice harvesting in September.
In addition, to increase the visibility of Takata no Yume, we instituted a number of PR measures, including one involving restaurants around the Tokyo Head Office. On March 11, the day of the earthquake in 2015 and 2016, the entire city of Aoyama, where our Tokyo Head Office is located, supported the “3.11 Eat and Support Takata no Yume” campaign! Participating restaurants in the Omotesando and Aoyama area that agreed with the purpose of the campaign offered lunchtime menus using “Takata no Yume” in their rice and breads, allowing more people to eat “Takata no Yume”, thereby contributing to support activities in the disaster-affected areas.
Moreover, ITOCHU Corporation held PR events at various places in Tokyo, and presented Takata no Yume to visitors together with city officials of Rikuzentakata.
Please see this page to learn about the Takata no Yume related activities. (Japanese only)
Activities to Support Disaster-Affected Areas through the ITOCHU Foundation
Giving Picture Books to Southeast Asia with the ITOCHU Foundation in Tohoku
The ITOCHU Foundation is involved with a project run by the Shanti Volunteer Association to give picture books to children. Children in places such as Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Afghanistan, receive Japanese picture books with stickers bearing translations into their local language. It’s a way to share the joy of picture books with the children in those communities.
In addition to collaborating on providing picture books with stickers of translations in local languages in other countries, in FYE 2015 the ITOCHU Foundation and company volunteers expanded the project to children in the area affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011. For this effort in FYE 2023, we enlisted the help of two organizations that support reading among children in Iwate Prefecture, and 320 translated picture books and shipped them to local communities in Southeast Asia. A total of 3,660 books completed by children in the affected areas and sent to various countries by FYE 2023.
100 Children’s Books Grant Made with Our Shareholders
From FYE 2013 to FYE 2023, we have conducted an activity in which the money we save on paper and postage with approval for the computerization of information addressed to shareholders is used for a book grant made by the ITOCHU Foundation.
In FYE 2023, the final year of the program, we donated one set of 100 children’s books to each of the following 14 schools that were severely damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake, the Torrential Rains in July 2018, and Typhoon No. 15 in 2022.
Watch the 100 Children’s Book Grant Made with Our Shareholders (3 minutes and 20 seconds) (Japanese only)
|The Great East Japan Earthquake
[Rikuzentakada] Hirota Elementary School, Yonezaki Elementary School, Yokota Elementary School
[Ishinomaki] Nakazato Elementary School
[Iwaki] Akai Elementary School, Kashima Elementary School, Natsui Elementary School, Taira First Elementary School, Taira Fourth Elementary School, Taira Sixth Elementary School
|The Torrential Rains in July 2018
[Kurashiki] Mabi Junior High School, Mabi East Junior High School
|Typhoon No. 15 in 2022
[Shizuoka] Shimizu Irie Elementary School