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Economic Revitalization of the Disaster Affected Area in Northern Japan

 Two Disaster recover and local community revitalization programs in Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate, which are located in the Tohoku area, were lanunched in 2016.


MetLife Foundation Tohoku Relief Fund Project duration: March 2016 - March 2018

 MetLife Foundation Tohoku Relief Fund was founded in March 2016.  This was made possible through a grant from MetLife Foundation and through the support of MetLife Insurance K.K. (MetLife Japan).  The Fund was created to support the economic recovery of the Fukushima Minami-Soma district, an area damaged heavily by the earthquake and tsunami disaster. PPJ, in cooperation with Abukuma Shinkin Bank, is conducting this economic recovery project for two years.


As of December 2017, the Fund has supported 52 local Micro Small Medium Entrepreneurs (MSMEs), including 24 for new business start-up support, 13 for business development and marketing support, and 15 for loan interest subsidy support.  The total grant amount is approximately 38 million JPY.  These MSMEs are located in a vast area of Fukushima, from Minami-Soma City, to Namie-Cho, to Odaka-ku, including the areas heavily affected by the nuclear plant accident.  Many of the MSMEs decided to start-up new businesses in an effort to revitalize local communities. 


The fourth grant ceremony was held in September 2017. One of the grantees, “Stable House Michikusa,” takes care of horses used in the traditional “Soma Horse Racing,” as well as those horses who were affected by the Tsunani.  Locals can visit the stable house to enjoy horse riding and learn the cultural horse-riding tradition of Soma, an area renowned for its traditional horse racing events.  Another grantee, “Pan Do Mi-Mi”, an Italian bakery, started a bakery shop for the local elders.  Pan Do Mi-Mi also intends to create a local community gathering place.  The bakery shop is located near the sea-side district of Isobe in Soma-City.


The project conclude in March 2018 and the final grant presentation ceremony will be held in Minami-Soma City. 


Photo explanation 

1.Farm house and field in Minami-Soma area

2.Stable “Michikusa”

3.Bakery shop "Pan Do Mi-Mi"

J.P. Morgan “Tohoku Small Business Promotion Program”: Project duration: May 2016 - April 2018

“Tohoku Small Business Promotion Program” aims to enhance economic recovery by supporting local micro, small and medium small enterprises (MSMEs) in the Kesennuma area affected by the Tsunami. The grant from J.P. Morgan aims to provide professional support to loca MSMEs, focusing female entrepreneurs, to promote business and job growth. In cooperation with Kesennuma Shinkin Bank, PPJ targeted to support 20 MSMEs by providing tools to tackle their business challenges with professional support. A wide range of professionals from an accountant, to a consultant, to a designer, to a web-designer, to a marketing specialist and to a hand-craft specialist are engaged.  

In addition to the Tsunami, the Tohoku district faces a serious issue of declining population, especially in young working population. PPJ did notice however, many young MSMEs who were born in the area return home after the disaster with hopes to revive their communities.  This program has become good sponsor for such entrepreneurs who are developing their businesses and extending their sales channels. As of December 2017, 21 MSMEs received support from the program. The program will complete in April 2018 and the third party evaluation report of the program will be made in March - April 2018.

Some MSMEs include:

 Fish Market 38 (processes fresh fish from local small fishermen)

Fish Market 38 purchases fresh fish from local fishermen, processes the fish and sells these to restaurants and supermarkets in town. They needed to improve their handling, processing and maintaining fresh fish. With the help of the program, they were able to obtain the professional training and coaching they needed for improving their skill. 

 Kesemo Marinus (sales of cosmetic good made of fishery by-products)

Kesemo is a project initiated by Kesennuma’s fishery industry to develop a new business utilizing local resources, such as fishery products. Kesemo Marinus was founded as a sales and marketing vehicle of the fishery products and resulting cosmetics products. Under the program, Kesemo Marinuma received guidance from a marketing consultant and web-designer to improve their sales and marketing.     

Photo explanation

1. Indigo Kesennuma  staff and working mothers in Kesennuma

2. Umemura Martina KFS Atelier, knitting lesson for working mothers

3. Overview of Kesennuma

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