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

IWATE1234of a resort hotel with a paramount mission of “pleasing customers.”Restoration of the facilities damaged by quake proceeded and the company began accepting reservations from regular customers around the same time that temporary houses for evacuees were provided. On April 29, 2011, the Tohoku Shinkansen restarted normal operations just in time for the Golden Week holidays and customers gradually returned along with the start of disaster area support tours, mainly from the Tokyo Metropolitan region. Hanamaki Onsen also acquired a travel business license and with the launch of its “Iwate Hanamaki Travel Agency,” it began selling specialized tours to the coastal disaster-affected areas in the Tokyo Metropolitan region while also calling on customers to visit Iwate. These efforts were based on the desire to have customers stay anywhere in Iwate even if not at Hanamaki Onsen. Despite this unprecedented major disaster, the company steadily did all it could as a resort hotel even under the challenging circumstances. This attitude was also conveyed to the employees and Sasaki notes, “I feel that the bond between employees and the company has deep-ened.” He adds, “I believe local residents now look at Hanamaki Onsen differently.” Hanamaki Onsen has become a local company of which both local residents and employees can be truly proud.In June 2011, Hiraizumi was regis-tered as a World Heritage site and in December an expressway was made free of charge as a measure to promote tour-ism. Meanwhile, the Iwate Destination Campaign was held from April to June 2012 as a variety of measures spurred an increase in the number of visitors to Iwate.Continually demonstrating visible changes to maintain the affection of the communityIn 2014, Ando Akira from Fujiya Hotel (Hakone-machi, Kanagawa Prefecture), part of the same Kokusai Kogyo Group, took over the reigns as President and Represen-tative Director of Hanamaki Onsen. During the first week in his new post, he stayed in Rikuzentakata, which suffered enormous damage from the huge tsunami. During his stay, he could once again truly feel the enormity of the damage and the horror of the tsunami that could not be compre-hended through the media. Ando explains, “I had a strong desire to undertake my management duties while closely listening to the stories of those around me so that I could better understand the feelings of employees and the emotions of the citizens of the prefecture even in a small way.”Moreover, he announced “GROWING 2020,” a medium-term management plan up to 2020 saying that, “You can’t undo something that’s already happened. Let’s move forward.”, and communicated to employees what Hanamaki Onsen aims for in the future. Ando distributed Credo to all employees to give further shape to its original management philosophy of “Customer-oriented Kindness and Cour-tesy” and the four Action Guidelines of “SAFETY,” “SPEEDY,” “SMILEY,” and “SINCERITY.”A quick glance at the company’s history on its corporate website shows that Ando has promoted an extremely large number of measures during the five years since he assumed the duties of President and Representative Director. These include establishing “Snow Park,” a new playground; refurbishing in-house facilities; introducing new systems such as projection mapping; and building a bachelor’s apartment. Ando explains, “Without continually communicating something, our customers, local residents, and even our employees will never understand that Hanamaki Onsen is a company that takes on the Iwate Destination CampaignThese are regional revitalization measures focused mainly on Iwate Prefecture that are being implemented by the JR Group, local governments and local tour operators. This campaign includes such activities as undertaking PR for tourism resources and providing tour buses to contribute to the recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake.HiraizumiThis refers to a neighborhood in the central area of ​​Hiraizumi town, Iwate Prefecture. Various cultural properties such as Chusonji Temple, gardens and ruins are preserved in good condition and this is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.E4

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