Social Contribution Activities in the Disaster–Stricken Areas
Besides making use of its specialized knowledge and networks and drawing on the overall strengths of Mizuho to promote recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake disaster, Mizuho is also contributing by providing employee volunteers, offering information to persons who have fled from the stricken areas, organizing financial education programs, and engaging in other social contribution activities in a sustained manner.
The Mizuho Forest Project
To reforest coastal land in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture, Mizuho entered into an agreement with Fukushima Prefecture, Iwaki City, and coastal forest owners. Based on this agreement, in April 2013, Mizuho began implementing the "Mizuho Forest Project," which entails the planting and maintenance of trees in a portion of the coastal disaster prevention forest area, to be name the "Mizuho Forest."
The project is being implemented in the "Shinmaiko Coastal Forest," a coastal disaster prevention forest extending approximately seven kilometers on a north–south axis along Iwaki City's Pacific Ocean coastline. The forest was devastated by the tsunami that followed the Great East Japan Earthquake disaster. Besides alleviating the damage caused by tsunamis, coastal disaster prevention forests help protect residences and farmland from flying sand and wind damage. Therefore, restoring such forests is an essential preliminary measure toward enabling people to live and resume farming activities along the coast.
After Fukushima Prefecture has completed the construction of protective seawalls and embankments in the area, beginning in November 2014, Mizuho will plant about 20,000 Japanese black pines over about a year and a half in a two–hectare area located in the Shinmaiko Coastal Forest, which will be named "Mizuho Forest." After planting of the trees, Mizuho will also nurture them for three years, and Mizuho employees will travel to the area to act as volunteers in the forest care activities.
Prior to the tree planting stage, in October 2013, Mizuho sent in volunteers to help clean up parks in the area. On the day of the cleanup, Mizuho employees participated, working together in a community effort with local government staff and residents of the area to support recovery in the disaster–stricken areas.
Activities to Communicate Information about the Affected Areas and Provide Continued Support
Three years have passed since the earthquake disaster, but recovery efforts are still in progress. In the affected areas where continued support is needed, one issue is to transmit information on the status of recovery activities on a continuing basis.
With this in mind, Mizuho is providing opportunities for its employees to maintain ties with the local areas. The MIZUHO in–house newsletter, for example, ran a special feature on developments over the three years since the earthquake and prepared a video on activities thus far entitled "Our Support for the Earthquake Recovery Activities." These communications activities provided an update on the current state of the affected areas, the progress toward recovery, and Mizuho's initiatives.
In addition, since the summer of 2011, through fiscal 2013, Mizuho has called for "Disaster Area Volunteers" from among its employees who want to play a more–active role in the recovery efforts. From 2011 through fiscal 2013, a cumulative total of 345 employees have participated in this initiative.
Among other activities, since the disaster, to provide a support venue that makes it easy for employees to participate, Mizuho is continuing to hold fairs that display and offer for sale products of the stricken areas. (Eight of these were held in fiscal 2013, bringing the cumulative total to 19.) A considerable number of Mizuho employees participate in these activities, and we have received words of gratitude from vendors whose products suffered from damage to their reputations after the disaster.