Together with Local Communities・
Safety Management in Malls
Feature 2
Creating Malls Resitant to Disasters

From the site of the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake

This fiscal year, many natural disasters occurred in various places such as Iwate Prefecture where 23 people died and became missing because of the 10th typhoon, Hokkaido where 3 typhoons struck consecutively, and the Kyushu region where there was record breaking heavy rain during the rainy season.
In particular, the damage of the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake which occurred successively on and after April 14, 2016 was enormous.

Efforts for restoration by mobilizing all available resources
AEON MALL Kumamoto (Kumamoto Prefecture)

After the occurrence of the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake, the AEON Group swiftly transported emergency relief supplies based on the comprehensive agreement between the AEON group and each local government and based on our experience of the Great East Japan Earthquake. In seriously damaged AEON MALLs in Kumamoto Prefecture, we worked on resuming operations as quickly as possible with the cooperation of our partner companies.

がんばろう熊本! イオンモール熊本
イオンモール熊本(熊本県) イオンモール熊本(熊本県)

For the region by uniting our group

The first earthquake occurred at 21:26 on April 14, 2016. I was on the bus after finishing work. Then, I felt a shake so intensely that I thought the bus might overturn, so I took a taxi to return to the mall sensing that there may be an extraordinary situation. Approximately 300 people including employees of the specialty stores remained in the building although the earthquake occurred after the end of our business operation. It took some time for us to confirm whether all people could evacuate.
28 hours after that, the mall stricken again by an earthquake of 7 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale received serious damage such as falling ceilings. Logistics did not function in the town, and even drinking water could not be obtained. Under such circumstances, staff members of the head office and division members of Kyushu and Okinawa transported needed relief supplies to our mall office. I was proud of the power of the AEON Group upon hearing that relief supplies had been delivered to the nearby gymnasium in which more than 1,000 people were evacuated, and to an elementary school where people spending the night in automobiles gathered. Our mall installed a simple toilet in the parking lot for customers who were staying in automobiles. On April 20, 2016, the mall opened a part of the first floor of AEON to deliver at least food. We were able to resume operations (about half of the stores in the building) on July 20 through a united effort to carry out recovery work while experiencing stress from the continuing aftershocks. The mall opens and there are customers. I felt how happy we were to see such an ordinary sight. I think that residents in the region, having seen our efforts, will never forget what AEON MALL Kumamoto and the AEON Group were doing during that difficult time. Thankfully, our mall was reborn on March 24, 2017, and all buildings were reopened (excluding sub-anchor stores). We will continue working on the restoration of the region together with residents in the region.

Manabu Kono

Manabu Kono
General Manager
AEON MALL Kumamoto

“Container Mall” that retained customers

AEON MALL Kumamoto opened “Container Mall” with 7 large and small containers installed on the site in the parking lot (about 9,800 m2) of the mall on September 28, 2016. With the opening of 7 stores including fashion stores, grocery stores, and restaurants, and the provision of a large event space, this mall is also functioning as a place for communication for residents in the region.

AEON MALL Kumamoto
Container Mall Container Mall

Realizing fun sales floors where customer expectations are satisfied

The east side of AEON MALL Kumamoto opened on July 20, 2016. At that time, specialty stores on the west side were not yet in operation. We felt a sense of crisis that it would become increasingly difficult to hire employees in specialty stores, and customers would leave our mall if the present situation continued. Under such circumstances, we looked for things that we could do. On the east side of the mall that resumed operations in advance, we provided spaces for temporary stores on the public areas that were previously walkways after consulting the jurisdictional fire station. However, there were limits in expanding the space. Then, we came up with the idea of using containers as stores when we saw outdoor containers that were being used as an office by a construction company. We were able to open the mall with the cooperation of the specialty stores by decorating the containers colorfully to realize fun sales floors to satisfy customer expectations, and preparing a tent and a lawn area for events. We were thanked by employees that they could work in AEON MALL Kumamoto again.

Ayumi IdeRevitalization
Promotion Manager
AEON MALL Kumamoto

Ayumi Ide

Early resumption of operations was realized with a united effort
AEON MALL Uki (Kumamoto Prefecture)

AEON MALL Uki (Kumamoto Prefecture)
チカラをひとつに! 笑顔deありがとう

AEON MALL Uki received various support activities from the Managing Director and other support employees from the day after the earthquake. Their efforts were immensely helpful in managing the detailed schedule, particularly in carrying out the products and taking out the valuables of each specialty store. We decided to resume our business operations from May 25, and had employees of the specialty stores make a great effort in bringing in support personnel from nearby areas. On the opening day, I was deeply moved when I saw smiles on the faces of customers and employees. As I had seen a desolate mall with nobody for a long time, I thought this is what it should look like because the mall is for the benefit of customers. In July and August, about 1.3 times the number of customers visited our mall compared with the previous year.

Hisaaki Jyo

Hisaaki Jyo
General Manager