Social Contribution Activities with Shiga Prefecture

ITOCHU Corporation contributes to the promotion of regional development by supporting Shiga Prefecture where we were founded.

Shiga Prefecture is the birthplace of the Ohmi merchants. It is also the home of Chubei Itoh I – the founder of ITOCHU. Shiga Prefecture is alive with a way of thinking that leads to the SDGs. For example, the spirit of “Sampo-yoshi” (good for the seller, good for the buyer, and good for society) of the Ohmi merchants is found here. This spirit has been passed down in ITOCHU since our foundation. It also connects to the modern-day SDGs. Shiga prefecture is also the site of environmental conservation activities to pass on Lake Biwa to the next generation in a healthy state.

Shiga Prefecture and ITOCHU Corporation Conclude Social Contribution Partnership Agreement

The signing ceremony

ITOCHU Corporation and Shiga Prefecture had the signing ceremony for the Social Contribution Partnership Agreement on October 28, 2022. Taizo Mikazuki, the governor of Shiga Prefecture, and Fumihiko Kobayashi, Executive Vice President & CAO, have signed the agreement. This agreement mainly concerning the following matters, with the goal of developing the partnership and increasing cooperation as we move toward the future.

  1. Matters related to the conservation of the environment/biodiversity
  2. Matters related to the growth of next generations/education
  3. Matters related to contributing to communities
  4. Matters related to initiatives for the SDGs/MLGs (Mother Lake Goals)
  5. Matters related to brand and information providing
  6. Matters related to resolving social challenges

Our social contribution activities with Shiga Prefecture will be promoted based on this agreement.

Collaborative Conservation Project for Rare Freshwater Fish with Shiga Prefecture and Shiga Prefectural Lake Biwa Museum

Investigation in the freshwater fish breeding room in the Lake Biwa Museum

Shiga Prefectural Lake Biwa Museum is operated with a mission to deepen understanding of Lake Biwa’s nature, history and life and to build an even better relationship of coexistence between people and the lake. ITOCHU Corporation and Lake Biwa Museum started collaborative research to protect and contribute to a recovery in endangered species of fish in the Lake Biwa and Yodogawa River water systems in FYE 2023. We are promoting activities to conserve the environment and biodiversity. For example, we are aiming to improve the environment of the pond in the museum.

Please click here for details.

Lake Biwa Environmental Study Tour in Shiga Prefecture

On July 29, 2023, ITOCHU Corporation held an environmental study tour for employees and their children in Shiga Prefecture.

10 families (23 people total) participated in the tour. In the morning, they rode the Megumi environmental study vessel to learn about the water and microorganisms of Lake Biwa, and in the afternoon, they rode a canoe to observe the YOSHI* in Lake Biwa. Finally, they had the opportunity to create LED sensor lamps using paper made from these YOSHI.

It is said that the founder of ITOCHU, Chubei Ito I, crossed Lake Biwa by boat and started his business. ITOCHU’s roots in this area of Shiga are deep, where children learned about water, flora and fauna through their experiences at Lake Biwa, and deepened their understanding of environmental conservation.

  • ’YOSHI’ are reeds that grow in clusters around Lake Biwa and play a major role in environmental conservation, such as purifying the water, providing a habitat for flora and fauna, and preventing erosion on the shores of the lake. Shiga Prefecture is making major efforts to preserve this YOSHI.

Business Cards Made from YOSHI from Lake Biwa

YOSHI business card gifts for children

YOSHI colonies are one of the beautiful landscapes of Shiga Prefecture and play a major role in the environmental preservation of Lake Biwa, with diverse functions such as habitat for fish and birds, prevention of erosion of lake shores, and water quality preservation. YOSHI are cycled through the cycle of planting, nurturing, harvesting, and utilization, but in recent years, as our lifestyles have changed, the industrial use of YOSHI has been decreasing. In response, ITOCHU Corporation’s Sustainability Management Division is contributing to the utilization of YOSHI by using business cards made from paper containing approximately 30% of YOSHI from Lake Biwa.

At an event held in August 2023 in which children of employees visited our company during their summer vacation, about 100 children who participated were given YOSHI business cards with their names on them.

World Picture Book Donation Project for Shiga Prefectural Library

In FYE 2022, ITOCHU Corporation started an activity of donating picture books for children in foreign languages to Shiga Prefectural Library as one of its “Community Contribution” and “Growth of Future Generations” activities for Shiga prefecture, where ITOCHU was founded.

With a concentration of industrial product manufacturing factories drawn by its abundant water sources around Lake Biwa and good access to urban areas, a large number of international residents with roots in foreign languages live in Shiga prefecture.

At the same time, there were comments from Shiga Prefectural Library that there is insufficient supply to meet the demand for international books, because there are very limited titles of international books available at bookstores in Japan, and selecting the books in multiple languages is also hard in general.

Tapping its global network, ITOCHU has selected popular books published overseas and collected picture books that everyone can enjoy, regardless of their native language or age. In FYE 2024, ITOCHU donated 367 books from 28 countries in 23 languages, for a total of 1,442 books from 47 countries in 36 languages to Shiga Prefectural Library.

Please click hereOpen in a new window for the picture book list.

Picture book donation ceremony
Left: Murata, chief librarian,
Shiga Prefectural Library
Right: Kobayashi,
Executive Vice President & CAO
Picture books gathered from around the world

Tablets Donated to All Municipal Libraries and All Special Needs Schools in Shiga Prefecture

Please click here for details.

ITOCHU Receives a Letter of Appreciation from Shiga Prefecture

ITOCHU’s achievements in our social contribution activities in Shiga Prefecture were recognized in March 2022. Taizo Mikazuki, Governor of Shiga Prefecture, presented a letter of appreciation to us at a presentation ceremony held in Shiga Prefecture.

We received this letter of appreciation for donating 114 iPads installed with the Multimedia DAISY Book* and 326 picture books in foreign languages (from 22 countries in 18 languages) collected from our overseas offices in FYE 2022. This initiative contributes to the Project to Facilitate Reading Accessibility in Shiga Prefecture being promoted by the prefecture. It deepens understanding of other cultures for children in Shiga Prefecture where there are many foreign residents. At the same time, it helps to provide opportunities for children with various roots to come into contact with their mother tongue.

  • Multimedia DAISY Book is an international standard for electronic books that allows users to listen to audio of a written document while viewing pictures and photos on the screen.

Company Visits of Shiga Prefectural Hachiman Commercial High School

ITOCHU Corporation hosts company visits from Hachiman Commercial High School in Shiga Prefecture, where Chubei Itoh II graduated. In the past, ITOCHU has cooperated in the "Ohmi Merchant Revitalization Project" which is aimed for practically acquiring the spirit of the Ohmi merchants and their business practices. As a company that inherits the spirit of “Sampo-yoshi” we value these opportunities with the school.

Lecture to Commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Founding of Hikone Higher Commercial School (now: Shiga University)

The lecture

Fumihiko Kobayashi, Member of the Board, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, gave a lecture to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of Hikone Higher Commercial School, the predecessor of the Faculty of Economics at Shiga University, on October 27, 2022. Approximately 200 students of the Faculty of Economics attended the lecture titled “Aiming to Be a Sustainable Company Together with the SDGs.”

ITOCHU Participates in the SDGs National Forum in Shiga and Lake Biwa 2022

Hiroko Tada, SVP & General Manager of the Washington Office for ITOCHU International Inc., served as a panelist at the SDGs National Forum in Shiga and Lake Biwa 2022 which was held in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture on November 12, 2022.

Shojiro Takahashi, President of Shiga Bank, Jin Uehara, Chairman of the Shiga Lakestars professional basketball team, Megumi Kodama, Director of Taneya Group, and Miyu Imoto, Representative of mitei, LLC, served as the other panelists. They discussed SDGs and business under the chairmanship of Kenji Fuma, CEO of Neural Inc.

A poster session was also held on this day. We displayed a poster titled “Initiatives of Shiga Prefecture and ITOCHU” in the ITOCHU booth. We also exhibited the foreign language picture books we have donated to the Shiga Prefectural Library. Taizo Mikazuki, Governor of Shiga Prefecture, visited the venue as well. He enthusiastically visited each booth.

Panel discussion
Taizo Mikazuki, Governor of Shiga Prefecture (center of the photo) visits the ITOCHU booth

Exhibition Held at ITOCHU SDGs STUDIO

Shiga Prefecture hosted a special exhibition titled “Exhibition to Start Your Own Journey: A Journey to Come into Contact with the SDGs in Shiga” in the ITOCHU SDGs STUDIO from November 8 to 27, 2022. The exhibition showcased things relating to the SDGs found during a journey around Shiga and encounters with the people involved in that together with a vision for the future. It provided the stimulus for attendees to start a journey to come into contact with the SDGs in Shiga. It also offered the stimulus for attendees to begin thinking about a new self for a sustainable future. Lake Biwa Museum held a workshop for children during the exhibition. The participants made a Northern European ornament called a himmeli using reeds while learning about the plant reeds which are indispensable for the environmental conservation of Lake Biwa.

Please click here for details of the exhibition (Japanese only).


Donation to “79th Japan Games” and “24th National Sports Festival for People with a Disability”

On November 14, 2023, ITOCHU Corporation received a letter of appreciation from Taizo Mikazuki, the governor of Shiga Prefecture, for its donation of “79th Japan Games” and “24th National Sports Festival for People with a Disability” to be held in Shiga Prefecture in 2025.

Three-site workshop at ITOCHU SDGs STUDIO

Please click here for details.