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Economic Revitalization of the Disaster Affected Tohoku Area - Fukushima Prefecture

MetLife Foundation Tohoku Relief Fund  Fukushima Prefecture 

 

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, has conducted this economic recovery project for two years.

    As of March 2018, the end of the project, the Fund has supported 54 local Micro Small Medium Entrepreneurs (MSMEs), including 26 for new business start-up support,15 for business development and marketing support, and 13 for loan interest subsidy support. The total grant amount is approximately 40 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. At the fifth grant ceremony which was held in Minami-Soma City in March 2018, not only the new grantees but the previous grantees participated, and they reported their business situation after being given the grant as well as the local economic situation. 

   In this area, the local economy which had been mainly led by local MSMEs was significantly damaged by the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear plant accident.  After the disaster, many new MSMEs established business through the support of this project to creat new employment and revitalize the local community.      

The followings are the typical business and their motives of starting of the business. 

1)    Eatery (ramen noodle shop, barbecue, Teppanyaki, oyster bar, etc.)

   Motive: to provide warm meals to the local people of the affected area.

2)    Beauty/barber shop (hair salon, nail salon, massage shop, esthetic clinic, etc.)

Motive: to provide physical/mental cares and relaxing places to the local people of the affected area.

3)    Retail food shop (bakery, food home delivery, etc.)

Motive: to support elderly people in the affected area and support daily shopping.

4)    Community activity (provision of community spaces, private tourist accommodation, song and dance lesson for primary school students, etc.)

Motive: to provide places where locals in the affected area are able to interact and enjoy group activities.

    Moreover, a community group called “Mirai-kai” for all the grantees was established, and it will help members sharing local information and mutual cooperation. It also aims to revitalize the community in the affected area, exploiting the link created by this project.

Fund closing ceremony at Fukushima Harano-machi in March 2018
MetLife member visited supported beneficiary Ramen shop "Houske"
MetLife member visited supported beneficiary Raspberry farm "Nagomi Raspberry"

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