Support Activities for People and Areas Affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake
- Global Policy for Social Contribution Activities
- Education Support Program in India
- The Ichimura Nature School in the Kanto Region
- The Ricoh Science Caravan
- Support Activities for People and Areas Affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake
All Ricoh Group employees express sincere sympathies to all those affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and their loved ones.
Two days after the disaster hit the nation, the Ricoh Group announced that it would provide financial assistance of 300 million yen in total and immediately stated to support municipalities in the affected region and Japan Platform, an NPO that was conducting relief activities there, while swiftly donating relief goods to the regions. Following these donations, we have continued various support activities to fulfill the needs and address the troubles resulting from the disaster, drawing on the Group's well-established customer network, products and services and know-how of social contribution activities, in the hopes that the people in the disaster-hit regions can restore their lives to normalcy at the earliest possible time. Consequently, the Group's support was highly recognized and awarded the His Imperial Highness Prince Tomohito of Mikasa Award of International Association for Universal Design 2012.
Support activities by employees
Help and learn through volunteering
Ricoh dispatched employees to a severely afflicted area in Rikuzentakata-shi, Iwate Prefecture, to carry out support activities for five weeks from August 2011. Utilizing their summer vacation leave time, around 90 employees volunteered to join the program, in which they engaged in removing rubble and debris and other work. The program provided the participants with a precious opportunity to witness first hand the actual areas of devastation and renew their understanding of the necessity for long-term support, thereby driving expansion of employee volunteer support activities.
Recognizing anew that continued support for reconstruction efforts in affected areas is still needed and that volunteer work can also benefit participants in enhancing their social awareness and gaining new perspectives, Ricoh defined the reconstruction support activity as an employee program, incorporating it into its social contribution training for new employees in 2012.
The following is a report on the first program organized under this framework. In May 2012, a total of 183 new employees were sent to the tsunami-stricken town, Minamisanriku-cho, Miyagi Prefecture, where they helped with fishing operations, specifically, preparing sandbags to be used as weights for oyster and scallop farming rafts, and also helped with shipping kelp in cooperation with JEN, an NPO that also was conducting assistance activities there. Working with local fishermen, the participants witnessed the actual, ongoing situation involving the difficult reconstruction process in affected areas and learned about damage that was sustained immediately after the disaster occurred as well as about current and future challenges facing local residents and organizations working to rebuild community life.
In the following week, the trainees participated in a Value-Creating CSR Workshop, where they engaged in group discussions to propose problem-solving business plans and ideas, focusing on products and services, for facilitating reconstruction in affected areas. Based on the insights obtained through their volunteer work, the participants explored the nature and causes of the challenges confronting many afflicted areas and possible solutions the corporation could provide, before each group made a presentation on the results of the discussions.
This training program was beneficial for the new employees in developing their social awareness. While extending help to victims in affected areas, they learned a host of lessons, including the significance of corporations conducting social activities, the importance of rebuilding people's lives, not only physical structures in achieving real community reconstruction, the effect of visiting the actual scenes of devastation and the potential of business to solve various social issues. We will continue to support these employee volunteer activities, focusing on new employee training.
Tohoku Re-use Center Kitakata
Supporting the restart of business operations and the creation of new employment in disaster-hit areas
Ricoh opened the Tohoku Re-use Center Kitakata on December 15, 2011 thanks to cooperation from Kitakata-shi, Fukushima Prefecture. In order to make this possible, we worked in concert with local administrative bodies and as a result of their support, we were able to receive subsidies from the prefectural emergency job creation fund, recognized as a part of the program. Accordingly, we prioritized people from the affected areas for the purpose of hiring them. The re-use center collects used MFPs from the market. Machines are dismantled, cleaned, and maintained, with parts replaced when necessary. To assist local companies trying to restart their operations, Ricoh opened the center at the earliest-possible time. The center lends out machines free of charge (except for maintenance service and expendable supplies) that have been maintained for re-use to clients whose MFPs were damaged in the disaster. To date, a few hundred machines have been loaned out to our clients.
Save the Memory Project
Bringing memorable photographs to their owners
The Ricoh Group began its Save the Memory Project in partnership with local governments of affected areas, under which photographs and albums damaged by the tsunami are retrieved and scanned into MFPs in order to return the digitized images with original photos to their owners.
By March 2012, we digitized approximately 300,000 photos that were retrieved and cleaned in Minamisanriku-cho and Onagawa-cho in Miyagi Prefecture, and Rikuzentakata-shi in Iwate Prefecture, with the help of around 500 volunteer Group employees. The image data has been made available for search through the Internet by disaster victims from photo centers set up in local government offices.
Since April 2012, we have offered a service package that carries out the entire process, from digitization of photos to installing equipment and providing cloud service, as well as personnel and technical support necessary for photo center operation. The service was first introduced in Watari-cho in Miyagi Prefecture, followed by municipalities located along the coast in northeastern Japan.
Community Mobile Data Printing Service
Taking special care of each resident's situation
In order to meet the needs of municipalities for distribution of announcements and for printing and copying important documents including disaster victim certificates, Ricoh's vehicles, equipped with MFPs and PCs, made regular rounds visiting temporary housing in Higashi-Matsushima-shi in Miyagi Prefecture, and Kamaishi-shi, Rikuzentakata-shi and Otsuchi-cho in Iwate Prefecture. Taking into consideration the difficult situation faced by the people, including senior citizens and those with physical disabilities in particular, we paid special attention to personal communication with those affected. Through these visits over time, many people began using the service in order to photocopy disaster victim certificates, health insurance cards, drivers' licenses, inheritance-related documents, requests for debris removal, directories of school classes, and other purposes. There was one case of a person who had not been able to contact his friends because he lost his telephone directory in the disaster so he photocopied his town's directory. This service ended in March 2012, but MFPs have been installed in meeting rooms of the temporary housing in accordance with requests from municipalities, which are now in charge of their management.
Student Reconstruction Conference
Using ideas from high school students for disaster area reconstruction
Ricoh co-hosted the Student Reconstruction Conference with the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. The conference was held in Rikuzentakata-shi, Iwate Prefecture, on August 6, 2011 and attended by 40 students from Iwate Prefectural Takata Senior High School. The students, ardent hometown supporters with their futures in their own hands, held discussions to explore the theme of community building toward reconstruction. By allowing their ideas to flow in a think-outside-the-box manner and taking inspiration from advice provided from invited professional architects, the students were able to piece together ideas for creating the town's symbolic facilities, focusing on the interaction of the people, and they presented the ideas to Rikuzentakata Mayor Futoshi Toba.
In order to ensure that the ideas borne from the event were effectively put to use towards rebuilding the town, the ideas of the students, supported by their enthusiasm, were passed on to a local reconstruction initiative undertaken by a team of children in Rikuzentakata-shi, led by Save the Children Japan. Ricoh will continue to support their activities to this end.