Toyota Announces New Tohoku Revitalization Initiative
Focus on enhanced social-contribution activities, strengthened commitment to local manufacturing and electricity-supplying hybrid vehicles
Toyota City, Japan, —Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) today unveiled an initiative for supporting revitalization of Japan’s Tohoku region (northeastern Japan), which was the region hardest hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11.
The initiative, under TMC’s Kokoro Hakobu Project, aims to establish a framework for continuous support, reflecting TMC’s desire to bring more than temporary allocations of human resources and material resources to the recovery effort.
While the Kokoro Hakobu Project, which launched in June, has already enabled diverse recovery activities, the new initiative broadens the project with enhanced social-contribution activities, a stronger commitment to Tohoku manufacturing, and the provision of hybrid vehicles as auxiliary sources of electric power.
The Japanese words “kokoro hakobu”, written in the Japanese kana syllabary in the logo, mean “to carry (or deliver) one’s heart”. The logo also shows a heart over northeastern Japan.
Enhanced Social-contribution Activities
The prefectures most affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, have each established or are planning to establish educational assistance funds for children, many of whom lost parents to the disaster. TMC will donate 100 million yen to each such fund (for a total of 300 million yen).
TMC will also donate 3 million yen to funds dedicated to supporting recovery through artistic and other cultural activities. In addition, it will add Tohoku venues to its Toyota Master Players concert series featuring 30 leading musicians from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and to the Toyota Community Concerts showcasing Japanese amateur orchestras. It will also sponsor other musical events and other activities in Tohoku in the spirit of revitalization.
Strengthened Commitment to Tohoku Manufacturing
TMC announced plans on July 13 for positioning Tohoku as its third production center in Japan, following the Chubu region (central Japan) and the Kyushu region (southern Japan). It also announced that three TMC subsidiaries that operate in Tohoku—Kanto Auto Works, Ltd., Central Motor Co., Ltd. and Toyota Motor Tohoku Corporation—are to begin discussions on consolidation, with the resulting entity specializing in compact vehicles and functioning as a semiautonomous unit that will handle the entire range of vehicle manufacturing, from R&D to production, as well as procurement and production related to engines and other vital components.
One of the vehicle models to be produced in Tohoku will be a highly anticipated small hybrid vehicle that will be a core member of TMC’s lineup of environment friendly vehicles.
With an understanding that developing human resources is essential to quality manufacturing, and to strengthen manufacturing in Tokoku, the new company will have a technical school on its premises that will provide one year of training to graduates of Tohoku technical high schools and employees of Toyota related companies in the region. Student recruiting is to start in July 2012, and the first class of 10 to 30 students is to begin studies in April 2013.
In a related move, the Toyota City–based Toyota Technical Skills Academy will train Tohoku technical high schools graduates for jobs at new company. Student recruiting is to start this month for a year of study from April 2012.
TMC’s strengthened commitment to Tohoku manufacturing will include measures for coping with future disasters. The company will fortify the on-site electrical-generating capacity at its Tohoku operations, helping to cope more smoothly with any future power interruptions and to stabilizing the regional power grid. The initiatives will begin with the installation of an 8-megawatt generating capacity at what is now Central Motor’s Miyagi Plant, or enough to supply about 90% of the plant’s electric power demand, when needed. Toyota will also study the potential for tapping renewable energies at its Tohoku operations and for installing systems to optimize electrical supply and demand at industrial complexes.
Electricity-supplying Hybrid Vehicles
The Great East Japan Earthquake spawned numerous suggestions from customers for designing vehicles to be more useful in emergencies. Owners were especially happy with a system on Estima hybrid minivan that supplies auxiliary electricity, which was invaluable during blackouts. Their input has prompted TMC to make that system available on other hybrid models. TMC is moving to offer the system as an option on the Prius hybrid vehicle within a year, and it will subsequently offer the system on other models.
With a maximum output of 1,500 watts, the power supply system can be used to run a variety of household appliances. The engine starts up automatically as necessary to recharge the battery, so a vehicle that starts with a full tank can supply electric power at maximum output for about two days.
To make available an on-hand emergency power-supply source, TMC will provide the system for free to Tohoku prefectures. Based on discussions with the prefectures involved, starting in August, TMC will begin retrofitting the system on approximately 40 units of the current-generation Prius already in service as prefectural vehicles.
(For reference, please see the attachment: “TMC’s Efforts for Victims of Great East Japan Earthquake”.)
TMC’s Efforts for Victims of Great East Japan Earthquake
Provision of funds
TMC has pledged a 300 million-yen donation that will be made to charities including The Central Community Chest of Japan and Japan Platform. In addition, a donation from TMC executives and employees of approximately 55 million yen will be made through the Japanese Red Cross.
Provision of supplies
So far, TMC has sent 87 11-ton trucks to the region containing such items as foodstuffs, drinking water, sundry goods (blankets, towels, paper diapers, clothes etc.), medical supplies, kerosene and tools. (Some of these trucks have contained items for the recovery efforts collected from Toyota and Lexus dealerships from across the country.) Additionally, seven tanker trucks have been sent to provide water.
Provision of vehicles
TMC is providing approximately 260 cars in total for use in the four affected prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima and Ibaraki.
Provision of temporary accommodation
Through Aichi prefecture authorities, TMC is providing 160 apartments for families and 320 single occupancy apartments in Aichi Prefecture to evacuees.
Provision of support to agricultural and food production industries
In close cooperation with the Nippon Keidanren’s relief efforts, TMC is carrying out the following to help support those involved in agriculture and food production in the Tohoku and Kanto regions directly affected by the earthquake and/or tsunami, or by fears of contamination stemming from the situation at the nuclear reactor in Fukushima.
• At TMC’s Toyota City, Nagoya and Tokyo facilities: Serving meals containing produce from the regions in the employee cafeterias, and selling produce and goods from the regions at shops for employees.
• At TMC’s Tokyo office lobby: Holding markets selling produce and goods from the regions.
Provision of personnel
Immediately following the earthquake, TMC sent approximately 60 employees to the affected areas, where the employees have mainly focused on distributing emergency provisions, but are also supporting recovery of the facilities of Toyota related companies.
Also, starting in June, volunteers from 15 Toyota and Toyota-related companies will carry out relief efforts. The volunteer base will be in Sumita-cho, Iwate Prefecture, and until the end of July, five groups of about ten volunteers will go regularly to the badly damaged city of Rikuzentakata, where they will mainly remove debris, dispose of garbage and clear roadside ditches and gutters.
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