Case Studies of Business Recovery in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, 2019-2020

Kirin KIZUNA Relief-Support ProjectThe project was launched by the Kirin Group in 2011 to support reconstruction after the Great East Japan Earthquake, and has conducted activities involving the disbursement of six billion yen over a three-year period. Today, activities are ongoing around the theme of “cultivating bonds” of local communities and families.Ishinomaki Umaimono Co., Ltd. 03Relationships slowly forged through discussions onproduct developmentThe city of Ishinomaki is home to Ishino-maki Port, which boasts one of the largest fish hauls in Japan. One of its key indus-tries is the processing of marine products. While roughly 200 companies were based in Ishinomaki before the Great East Japan Earthquake struck, the number dropped to around 150 in the wake of the disaster. With labor and raw material shortages causing additional misfortune, the harsh conditions have been ongoing. In the midst of this adversity, Ishinomaki Umaimono Co., Ltd. was created by business operators in the same industry, ostensibly rivals of one another, deciding to join forces. With support from the Kirin KIZUNA Relief-Support Project, a reconstruction support activity operated by the Kirin Group, in September 2013, 12 companies made up of 10 marine product processors and two meat and agricultural companies established the Ishinomaki Delicacy Dissemination Council, the predecessor of Ishinomaki Umaimono Co., Ltd. While the member companies participated in business meetings on expanding sales routes and held various events, each company also embarked on efforts to develop their own new products.At first there was reluctance, recalls Sato Yoshihiko, the Representative Direc-tor of Ishinomaki Umaimono Co., Ltd.“As we hadn’t done any business with one another up to that point, there was concern that if we gave frank opinions about the prototype products it would spark anger. Since each company has its own distinct flavors, we couldn’t overstep our bounds to offer feedback.”However, the council met each week and participants deepened their ties with one another in the course of repeated taste testing sessions, and as a result, people began to exchange frank feedback. Those opinions included things like “the flavor is bland,” “too strong,” “something is missing,” and of course, “delicious.”“Up until that point, when a new product was created only the people working at that company would try it, so there was a tendency for opinions to coalesce around the same direction. While that was what formed each company’s distinct flavors, since we were adding the eyes and taste buds of other companies to that equation, I think it was a considerable achievement. Gradually the 12 companies began to collaborate, such as offering raw materials to one another, entrusting part of their manufacturing processes to some of the other companies and sharing know-how.Opening of the antenna shop and the birth of a hit productThe council took the new products created by each company through the exchange of frank opinions to business meetings and trade shows around Japan, gradually expanding sales channels. While the project had fulfilled its role to some extent, the participants did not want to let the valuable relationships they had built go to waste. With the idea of creating an antenna shop showcasing the products of each company, in January 2016 ten of the council’s member companies established a joint-stock company.With the aim of playing a part in the revitalization of Ishinomaki’s once-shut-tered Tachimachi-Odori shopping district, in November 2016 Ishinomaki Umaimono Marché opened in Ishinomaki ASATTE, a commercial complex on the first floor of a redevelopment building newly constructed in the area. Displaying products from 10 companies under one roof, employees and Ishinomaki Umaimono MarchéThis is an antenna shop that sells the products of the ten companies participating in Ishinomaki Umaimono. Focusing on products not sold at supermarkets, the products can be combined into gift sets, with customers also able to choose which combinations make up a set.20302013●Sep.: Established.the Ishinomaki Delicacy Dissemination Council. The council conducts planning and operations related to product development, expansion of sales channels and events.1,6004,00008002,4003,200●Jul.: Relocated Ishinomaki Umaimono Marché to Sakanamachi, Ishinomaki.20192,900●Mar.: Ishinomaki Kinka Chazuke, the first product of the Ishinomaki Kinka series, went on sale.20182,70020173,8002016●Jan.: Established Ishinomaki Umaimono Co., Ltd as a joint-stock company.Preparations were made to open an antenna shop and the companies engage in product development and sales channel expansion.●Oct.: The local industrial resource utilization project plan was accredited.●Nov.: Opened Ishinomaki Umaimono Marché in Tachimachi, Ishinomaki.130Ishinomaki Umaimono MarchéStrides toward recoverySales of Products from Local Resources Accredited by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (Ten Thousand Yen)October–September of following year[SDGs] Toward 2030As a local trading company, Ishinomaki Umaimono will develop sales channels and contribute to the rebuilding of the marine prod-uct processing industry. By having multiple companies in the same industry coordinate with one another, the company will endeavor to boost production efficiency, adapt to chang-ing ocean conditions and preserve resources.Utilizing the abundant ocean re-sources carefully and contributing to the rebuilding of Ishinomaki’s marine product processing industryE11

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