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Top>HAKUMON Chuo [2014 Early Spring Issue]>[News & Chuo University News] Report: Kesennuma City Corporate Marche

Hakumon CHUOIndex

News & Chuo University News

Report: Kesennuma City Corporate Marche

Support for disaster recovery at former Surugadai school building

Student Reporter: Anna Takase (1st-year student, Faculty of Law)

Upon hearing that Corporate Marche would be held on February 18 to support recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake, I made my way to the venue at Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co., Ltd., in Kanda Surugadai, Tokyo. The venue was the former site of the Chuo Surugadai Campus.

At the end of May last year, I participated in the Disaster Area Study Tour held by the Chuo University Volunteer Station. My volunteer activities took me to Onagawa Town in Miyagi Prefecture, an area devastated by the 2011 earthquake.

Corporate Marche was born from Regional Recovery Matching Yui-no-Ba (Place for Joining Together), which was held by the Miyagi Reconstruction Bureau of the Reconstruction Agency and the local Chamber of Commerce. Corporate Marche is held to help corporations and retail stores in the disaster area which lost their sales routes following the Great East Japan Earthquake. The event promotes sales of products to employees of participating corporations in order to strengthen sales capability and product appeal. Communication with consumers is encouraged through taste-testing and the establishment of new sales channels. Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company is one of the supporting corporations involved in Corporate Marche.

Regional Recovery Matching Yui-no-Ba achieves matching with the know-how possessed by major corporations in order to resolve a variety of problems which cannot be addressed by the independent effort or existing systems of corporations in the disaster area.

The recent Corporate Marche featured a morning session and afternoon session at the Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company Surugadai Building.

I reported on the afternoon session. Upon entering the venue, the session started with a panel discussion by corporate interns from Chuo University. There were also booths displaying reports by several other universities. In the back of the venue were the product sales channel booths which were the main attraction.

“How are sales going?” I asked the booth staff.

“Well, we started the morning with about 30 different products,” said the salesperson with a smile. “The ajillo (simmered dish with garlic oil) and boiled fish pouches have been very popular. Although we started the day with 4 types of pouches, there are now only 2 left.”

At the venue, I met university students who were scheduled to start internships in the disaster area from March. Five of the interns were Chuo University students, two of whom were my friends.

I also interviewed Yasuhiro Murayama, Assistant Director to the Counselor at the Miyagi Reconstruction Bureau of the Reconstruction Agency, who told me the following.

“Beginning from last year, Yui-no-Ba was held sequentially in Ishinomaki, Kesennuma, Minamisanriku and Watari-Yamamoto. The recent event was the 5th Corporate Marche featuring participation from Kesennuma corporations. Although the infrastructure of engineering and manufacturing corporations is recovering thanks to government subsidies, Corporate Marche is held to support the recovery of operation aspects such as sales channels. As an event of Yui-no-Ba, a sales conference by seafood processing companies from Kesennuma and Ishinomaki is scheduled to be held on March 6 and 7 at the Marunouchi Building in Tokyo.”

Next, as the voice of local corporations, I spoke with Shuichi Murakami of Hachiyo Suisan, which operated a booth at the event. Murakami described current conditions and his hopes for the future as follows.

“We decided to participate in Corporate Marche because our sales opportunities decreased when our line was stopped due to the disaster. If we can introduce the flavor of our products to consumers, then hopefully they will choose our products when they are stocked in supermarkets.”

While I was speaking with booth staff, they sold almost all of the products which they had brought to the event.

Through my reporting, I realized that many people still remember the hardships of the Great East Japan Earthquake and are working hard for construction. At the same time, I felt a sense of helplessness regarding my own ability to aid others.

However, I believe that my reporting will be of benefit to someone and something. Therefore, I am committed to continuing on reporting news related to the Great East Japan Earthquake in the future.

A Surprise Supporting My Future Dream

A surprise was waiting for us on the day of Corporate Marche. About 30 minutes after my reporting, a sense of anticipation began to spread throughout the venue. Camera crews from two private broadcasting companies appeared carrying their equipment. Magazine reporters carrying cameras also entered the venue. I wondered what was going to happen. Perhaps someone famous was coming?

My question was answered by the appearance of the handsome politician Shinjiro Koizumi from the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan. A member of the House of Representatives, Koizumi is also Parliamentary Secretary of Cabinet Office and Parliamentary Secretary for Reconstruction.

Personally, I am a fan of Koizumi. Just like the other female employees around me, I was very excited by his appearance.

I was impressed by how Koizumi took the time to interact with his fans. He posed gladly for pictures, praised the work of staff at sales booths, and spoke with students about internships. He returned handshakes with a firm grasp. When approached by Umi-no-Ko Hoya Boya, the tourism mascot of Kesennuma City, Koizumi joked with the character in what was a perfect shot for television.

“Let’s go over there and take a photo together,” proposed Koizumi smilingly to female employees while pointing at a poster advertising the company. Male employees were also thrilled.

Even when spending only a short time together, the Parliamentary Secretary made a good first impression on people. I can see why Koizumi’s supporters continue to grow.

According to an official from the Reconstruction Agency, Koizumi uses local dialect of the region he visits. Also, no matter how much time it takes, he does not leave until he has shaken hands with everyone wanting to greet him.

My encounter with Koizumi left me impressed with his ability to bring happiness to people.

I have a dream which I decided upon before entering university. The path that I have chosen will not be easy. In order to realize my dream, I need the power to bring happiness to others.

I feel like my meeting with Koizumi brought me one step closer to acquiring such ability.

I look forward to the day when my dream comes true and I can thank Koizumi in person.

(Anna Takase)