Support for Creating Businesses that Increase Employment
Securing employment needed as the basis for the livelihood of persons living in the areas affected by the earthquake disaster is still a high–priority issue. Mizuho is taking initiatives not only to revitalize businesses by providing support for fund–raising for companies in the stricken areas but also for the creation of new businesses and industries that will offer new job opportunities.
Supporting the Transformation of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries into Growth Industries through Collaboration with Regional Financial Institutions
Mizuho believes that increasing the competitiveness of the agriculture, forestry, and fisheries industries, which are key industrial sectors in the Tohoku region, will lead to the creation of jobs and regional revitalization. Mizuho has, therefore, teamed up with regional financial institutions and invested in two funds. In April 2013, Mizuho invested in the Tohoku Future Support Fund, and, in June 2013, in the Fukushima Regional Sixth Industry Recovery Fund.
The Tohoku Future Support Fund decided to provide its first financing, amounting to JPY 100 million, in January 2014 to Aomori Kaisan Co., Ltd., which is a marine products processing company located in Fukaura Town in Aomori Prefecture. Then, in March 2014, the second financing, amounting to JPY 13 million, was provided to Oono Milk Workshop, a milk and dairy products manufacturing company located in Hirono Town in Iwate Prefecture.
Support for Renewable Energy Power Generation Businesses
Since the earthquake disaster, awareness of energy–related issues has risen throughout Japan, and activities to make use of renewable energy sources in the stricken areas have attracted attention.
Mizuho has been active in projects related to renewable energy for some time, and has a broad record of accomplishments in providing business support from consulting to fund–raising initiatives. Drawing on its accumulated know–how, Mizuho is providing its support to promote the wider use of renewable energy sources in the Tohoku region.
Fukushima Floating Offshore Wind–farm Demonstration Project Began: Prospect for Creating Offshore Wind Power Related Industries
The Vision for Revitalization in Fukushima Prefecture points the way to recovery in the prefecture, and accumulating renewable energy related industries in Fukushima is considered an issue. The concept of floating offshore wind power generation is one of the key projects that would offer solutions, as wind power generators require many cutting–edge technologies like automobiles; many parts manufacturers are expected to locate their businesses near the wind farms, and thus it is expected to give rise to new industries and new jobs. Furthermore, floating offshore wind power generation facilities, which are surrounded by deep nearby seawaters, have drawn strong interest in Japan as they have a potential to provide stable supplies of renewable electric power in the country.
MHIR, which has a record of research accomplishments in the field of advanced energies as well as abundance of knowledge and insight into related matters, joined in a consortium with 10 domestic companies and the University of Tokyo: The Fukushima Floating Offshore Wind Farm Research and Testing Group (hereinafter, the project). In the consortium, MHIR is responsible for preparing the necessary information base for the project. The project will gather and analyze meteorological and oceanographic data and information on operation of wind generators. It will move forward with initiatives to secure the safety and reliability of floating offshore wind power generation facilities as well as assessment of their economic viability and the establishment of operating and management methods. In November 2013, the first two–megawatt downwind type offshore wind turbines were installed, and the demonstration is ongoing at a location about 20 kilometers offshore Fukushima Prefecture.
This project has the objectives of "creating a floating offshore wind power generation related industries, including manufacturing facilities" and "promoting the development of floating offshore wind power generation facilities as a main export industry." In addition, one of the major themes of the project, which ought to be addressed in cooperation with fisheries industry interests, will be "coexistence of the fisheries industry and floating offshore wind farms."
Providing Broad Support for Commercialization of Chicken Manure Biomass Power Generation
"Chicken Manure Biomass Power Generation" means using chicken feces, which thus far has been thrown away, as an energy source for power generation. It also represents an important breakthrough because the ashes remaining after the burning of the biomass material will be used as a material for fertilizer. Although there have been a few examples of this kind of project in Japan, it has drawn attention in recent years because it is a clean renewable energy that is environmentally friendly and an effective means of recycling resources.
MHBK has been involved in these chicken manure biomass power generation initiatives from the conceptual development stage to assist poultry farmers in Iwate Prefecture associated with the Jumonji Chicken Company, Ltd. (hereinafter, the company), who were adversely impacted by the earthquake disaster. Information provided to the company by Mizuho included details of the feed–in tariff scheme for renewable energy, which ensures a market for power generated from renewable and certain other sources, and introductions to related consulting companies. At the same time, MHBK has mobilized the comprehensive capabilities of the Mizuho Group to offer support, including providing in–depth advice and consultation on electric power plants. As a result, the decision was made to commercialize this enterprise, and, with the collaboration of MHBK and regional financial institutions, loans were made available for the construction of the related plant facilities. The company's biomass energy project will provide a clean, environmentally friendly electric power source. It is also expected not only to provide jobs in each of its related processes but also be useful in bringing recovery to poultry farming, which is one of Tohoku's main industries. Accordingly, interest in this project in the region is running high.