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

Regional design businessA business model being pursued by Amita to transform areas into sustainable regions by linking the elements that make up a region such as people, towns, the natural environment and resources to develop a positive cycle.AMITA CORPORATION02A biogas facility forming the core of industrial city develop-ment in Minamisanriku townThe town of Minamisanriku is located in northeastern Miyagi Prefecture. It was formed in 2005 with the merger of the towns of Shizugawa and Utatsu, and is surrounded by an expanse of mountain-ous forest. During the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, tsunami up to 20 meters in height reached the inland areas of the town and caused immense damage, with more than sixty percent of buildings at least partially destroyed. Today, the main government building and residential areas have been newly established on higher ground, and new town development efforts are underway.In the wake of the disaster, Minamis-anriku established a new slogan: Mori Sato Umi Hito, Inochi Meguru Machi (“Forest, Village, Ocean, People: A Town Surrounded by Life”). As a town sur-rounded by the ocean and mountains, this represents Minamisanriku’s efforts to rebuild and develop its agricultural, forestry and fishery industries while coexisting with nature, and the town positioned the biomass industrial city concept as a core pillar of this effort. Raw waste generated by town residents in their daily lives is collected at the biogas facility and fermented to generate biogas and liquid fertilizer. The initiative achieves eco-friendly town development where resources are recycled throughout the area, with biogas used to generate electricity and liquid fertilizer returned to local agriculture. The biogas facility, named Minamisanriku BIO, is operated by Amita Corporation.Encounters with disaster-affect-ed people forged ties between Amita and Minamisanriku townAmita Corporation runs a regional design business. It maintains operat-ing sites throughout Japan, and its link with Minamisanriku was established in the wake of the Great East Japan Earth-quake. Sato Hiroyuki, COO of Amita Holdings Corporation, recounts the time.“After the disaster struck, I and other staff of Amita headed to the Tohoku region for volunteer. When I happened to enter the town of Minamisanriku and spoke with one of the disaster-affected residents there, it turned out he was a fisherman working in the pelagic fishing industry. Perhaps due to the fact that he was working in the harsh pelagic envi-ronment, he held profound thoughts regarding coexistence with nature. Even though only a short time had passed since the disaster, he was already talking about developing a productive town coexisting with nature that future generations could be proud of. For our part, we couldn’t find a reason not to help out with this endeavor. We essen-tially barged our way into becoming involved with the reconstruction and town development of Minamisanriku.”The town was also in searchof a biomass conceptFor Minamisanriku town, which is hemmed in by the sea and mountains, how to utilize its abundant environmen-tal resources was also a key governing theme. Oikawa Akira, who heads the Minamisanriku Town Planning Section, belonged to a department tasked with formulating the town’s reconstruction plan following the disaster.“At the time in 2011, the town fishing industry had been approaching a period of transition and the industrial structure was being reviewed. When the disaster struck, it was another painful reminder of the need for town development that would take the environment and disaster prevention into account. Watching the townspeople collect branches and set them on fire, I wondered about the approach of wood biomass 20302012●Nov.: A plan to recycle general waste and other materials is formulated and demonstration testing is is conducted.* The Amita Group strives to achieve a sustain-able society throughout its business activities.Strides toward recoveryLiquid Fertilizer Production Volume (t)Biogas Generation Volume (N m3)April–March of following year*Operation started in October 20152011●Mar.: Established and begun operating the“Hito - Tsunagari Fund” and staff traveled to the Tohoku region to take part in volunteer efforts.2014●Mar.: Minamisanriku is certified as a Biomass Industrial City.●July: Minamisanriku signs an implementation agreement for a biogas business with Amita.[SDGs]2030年に向けて[SDGs] Toward 2030In addition to biogas power generation and the distribution of liquid fertilizer by Minamis-anriku BIO, there are also aims to develop the process of supplying fuel in the form of wood pellets. The town will also continue to manage its forest and marine resources appropriately.Creating a town where life forms a cycle and biomass technologies play a pivotal role30,00050,000020,00010,00040,000201844,0322,016201741,4731,606201632,7652,1822015●Mar.: Held A ground-breaking ceremony for construction of the biogas plant●Apr.: Entrusted 2015 Liquid Fertilizer Outreach Activities Project operations●Oct.: Opened the Minamisanriku BIO biogas facility5,257261Liquid FertilizerBiogasE7

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