Together with Local CommunitiesFeature 2
Creating Malls Resitant to Disasters

Continued restoration support for disaster-stricken areas

(Higashimatsushima City, Miyagi Prefecture)

Higashimatsushima City, Miyagi Prefecture that suffered
severe damage due to the Great East Japan Earthquake. Since 2013, with the cooperation from customers nationwide, we have been continuously supporting various activities on which Higashimatsushima City and the citizens are working.

Endeavoring for restoration with the spirit of “mutual assistance”

We have been proceeding with the move of a total of 1,010 households to disaster public housing in phases since the spring of 2014 as a new residence of the citizens who had been living in temporary houses for a long time. All of them will complete moving in by the summer of 2017. The public housing is barrier-free with the assumption that the elderly people will also be in residence, and we received positive opinion from people who have already moved in. They said they could finally live comfortably without worrying. In Higashimatsushima City, we had been strengthening the self-governing community well before the earthquake occurred. After the disaster, missing people have been confirmed and the evacuation area has been operated mainly by the residents based on the spirit of “mutual assistance”. For the collective relocation of this time, a new town development has been promoted in various regions not by the local government, but mainly by holding discussions with the residents. There are few opportunities to accurately report the situation of the area, for example that more than 3 years is required from the start of collective relocation to the completion thereof. Under these circumstances, I am very grateful to AEON MALL who continues transmitting information to prevent the situation in the disaster-stricken areas from being forgotten, and I think that AEON MALL is a partner who not only provides financial support but also transmit the thoughts of the citizens to people all over Japan.
At that time, I realized through my experiences that human lives cannot be saved by any manual. I had once thought that a person who makes decisions, takes actions, and takes responsibility for the result is a leader, but now on the contrary, I recognize that a leader can make decisions and takes actions because of his/her determination to take responsibility for the result. Having received a lot of support from all over Japan and abroad, I felt that the world's "mutual assistance" functioned. I appreciate all the support we received from everyone, and sincerely hope this spirit will used for the creation of a new future society.

Hideo Abe Mayor of Higashimatsushima City

Hideo Abe
Mayor of Higashimatsushima City

Stitch Girls Project

This project managed by Higashimatsushima Organization for Progress and Economy, Education, Energy promotes a new industry for women in the region by means of cross-stich embroideries, and creates opportunities for them to be active. Our company is implementing workshops and exhibition sales in malls in the metropolitan area, and introducing these activities widely to customers.

Stitch Girls Project

At workshops held at AEON MALLs in the metropolitan area, we were overwhelmed by a wide space inside the building and the crowd. It was great to experience the process of learning to hold a needle, continuing patiently, and sharing the joy of accomplishing something together. Although we are acting in the temporary store now while using it as a café, we want to establish a place where we can perform long-lasting activities in the future, and make an appeal about our activities to make people say that Higashimatsushima is a region popular for stitch embroideries.

[From the left] Masako Monma, Yumiko Sugawara, Yoshiko Niitsuma, Takako Ono, Yuka Mori

Supporting “Disaster-stricken areas conveyed by photos” activities

The “Disaster-stricken areas conveyed by photos” has been transmitting information of Higashimatsushima City and its surrounding areas, with Ayato Nakamura who is a third-year high school student as its representative. Our company is supporting the activities of Mr. Nakamura and his group by holding photo exhibitions and various projects in our malls throughout Japan.

I was a 5th grade elementary student when I experienced the Great East Japan Earthquake. I started to take photos with the camera that I got from my father, and many people come to see my photos thanks to various support. With the desire of making everyone who sees my photos smile, I continue taking photos to convey not only the grief in the disaster-stricken areas but also the restoration efforts. Restoration is progressing also in Higashimatsushima, but it much less than what many people imagine from media reports. The levee raising along the coast has not been finished yet, and you can see new houses and temporary houses facing each other across the street. I think it can be said that the restoration has been completed only if victims have regained a secure life without being forgotten by everyone. We would like to continue our activities with the hope that the number of victims can be lessened as much as possible.

Representative of “Disaster-stricken areas
Ryoto Nakamura

Ryoto Nakamura
Representative of “Disaster-stricken areas conveyed by photos”

From the production site of “Onokun”

From the production site of “Onokun”Sock monkeys “Onokun” created in the temporary housing in front of Ono Station in Higashi Matsushima City and travel across the country. We collected materials such as socks and cottons in AEON MALLs throughout Japan and delivered them to Higashimatsushima. This time, we received messages from mothers who have been engaging in the production for a long time.

The most difficult part is the mouth. At the beginning, I was not sure whether sock monkeys can be sold but I have continued to make monkeys with pleasure. Having only a little time left to live in the temporary housing, I am worried about changing residences, but I am looking forward to living in a new place.

Taeko Takahashi
Taeko Takahashi

I am extremely glad not only that the monkeys I made are sold, but also that they return home from afar as their “homecoming”. I am proud of showing excellent teamwork between my familiar companions here.

Fumiko Doi
Fumiko Doi

I moved into a new house about 2 years ago, but I work in a temporary housing. Making the monkeys while chatting with others is fun. I want to continue this work.

Keiko Kimura
Keiko Kimura

Towards the construction of “Sky Station”

We are carrying out the "Sky Station" construction project with the aim to establish a new regional exchange base as well as taking over the base of "Onokun" production from the temporary housing. Our company has been continuing our supports such as taking charge of the fund-raising from customers in our malls throughout Japan.

More than 6 years after the earthquake disaster, the moving out of every evacuee in emergency temporary housing in front of Ono Station is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2017. The assembly hall that was the “Onokun” production site has been an exchange base to which approximately 20,000 people visited from all over the country every year. Therefore, we are in a hurry to construct the “Sky Station” construction as a place where the role can be taken over. The 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake occurred during such a situation. So we provided various supports such as sending relief supplies to the site with all our feelings of gratitude for the support received so far from throughout Japan, and delivering “Onokun” building blocks. We will continue moving ahead step by step so that everyone can think, “I am glad to have supported. I want to visit Higashimatsushima again.”

Towards the construction of “Sky Station”
[Right] Fumiko Takeda[Left] Hayato Shinjyo Joint Representative Ono-ekimae Go Project

[Right] Fumiko Takeda
[Left] Hayato Shinjyo
Joint Representative
Ono-ekimae Go Project

Conducted a study tour for employees

In November 2016, 16 employees of our company visited the disaster-stricken areas in the Tohoku region for 3 days. In AEON MALL Ishinomaki, we listened to the experiences of employees who dealt with the earthquake disaster, and the stories of people who are working on the restoration in Higashimatsushima to figure out what our company can do in the future.