There is Something Only Outsiders Can Do
Due to earthquake, and then tsunami, support for fishery was heavily delayed
on Tohoku coast where massive damages occurred.
Noriyuki Sato of the Rohto Pharmaceutical Restoration Support Office (at
the time) jumped right into local fishing communities to support them.
Eating, sleeping, and participating in fishery works from early morning
with the local fishermen, he earnestly searched for things that he could
do, such as marketing and sales to restaurants, activities that fishermen
had trouble with.
His earnest was finally recognized by local fishermen. Or rather, he himself
has become a fisherman.
Sato once said, the problems happening in Tohoku are not other people's
problems, but are ours.
Hollowing out of population, depopulation, aging society, and the lack
of successors; the primary sector of Japan is in danger.
We consumed countless gifts from the ocean every year.
Those gifts had also benefited the health of countless people in Japan.
We simply should not ignore the situation.
In order to revitalize the fishery industry, we must take action.
Starting to think about the future of Japan, from Tohoku, is another challenge
Giving Seeds of the Future to the Lands of Tohoku
Michinoku Future Fund Giving disaster orphans the dream of further education
Michinoku Future Fund is a fund to provide post-high school educational
support for children who lost their parents in the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Tuitions are paid for in full and do not have to be paid back.
Kunio Yamada, the CEO of Rohto says that there is something he failed to
do in Kobe.
His regret was that he could not provide sufficient support for children
after the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. From such experience, the Reconstruction
Support Office was established in Rohto only two weeks after the Great
East Japan Earthquake. Upon arrival on April 4th, medicine kits were distributed
to schools. In October, Michinoku Future Fund was founded to support the
dreams of children, along with Kagome and Calbee. This fund is a long term
support of approximately 25years to support even the children that were
still inside their mothers at the time of the earthquake until their graduation.
The characteristic of this fund is that it does not only end in a mere
financial support, but also affectionately touches children's feelings.
Along with local school teachers, attention is directed at each and every
child facing difficulty in order to provide suitable support.
Five years have passed since the earthquake.
Some children have already graduated and moved onto working in the society.
Michinoku Future Fund continues to carry on its mission to cherish and
support the dreams of children in Tohoku.
Explore new fisheries system
Four fifths of all the buildings in Ogatsu (part of Ishinomaki City) –
one of the towns in the northeast of Miyagi prefecture closest to the epicenter
of the Great East Japan Earthquake – were swept away by the resulting tsunami,
to cause the population to significantly decline, by as high as eighty
percent at its worst time.
Noriyuki Sato of Rohto Pharmaceutical volunteered to join the company's
reconstruction assistance activities after the quake. He moved to Ogatsu,
and in the course of living with the local fishermen, he has gradually
been accepted and is relied on by them, although he was treated as a stranger
at first. We provide particular support for "Ogatsu-sodateno junin"
to stimulate the community by reactivating the local fisheries.
The aim is to establish a new interconnected fisheries system whereby those
who create the fisheries products actually get to know their customers,
and vice-versa. Consumers who buy seafood from Ogatsu are registered as
"Ogatsu-sodateno junin" members (a community named after the
Members can participate in related events, such as going fishing with the
local fishermen, and learning about their unique seafood dishes. The produsers
and consumers of these fisheries products can now communicate directly,
such that a new community has been born through food.
Adding new value in cooperation with the community
Issues happening in Tohoku caused by the great earthquake, such as a hollowing-out
of the younger generation, aging and depopulation, and the lack of successors,
will also likely to afflict other rural areas in Japan within the next
fifteen to twenty years.
What can be produced to create new value in an area where so much has been
To create a new model in the condition where nothing remains is to create
Japan's future. Mr. Sato considers that Rohto's reconstruction support
is helping to create and forge links to "newly added value" rather
than simply restoring the original status as a volunteer.