The Great East Japan Earthquake strikes at 2:46pm(JST) on March 11, 2011.
The Panasonic Group was forced to shut down operations at a number of sites due to the damage inflicted. In particular, the Sendai and Fukushima plants were damaged so badly that it was impossible to gain access to either facility. Also within Greater Tokyo, many people could not get home due to the stop of public transportation, the essential tool for commuters with the metropolitan area. Panasonic Center Tokyo, located in Odaiba, Tokyo, which had closed its doors immediately after the earthquake, reopened as an evacuation shelter and housed over 300 people overnight.
- Truck Containing the First Shipment of Relief Supplies
The following morning of the earthquake, Panasonic established an internal task force titled "Corporate Emergency Headquarters for the Great East Japan Earthquake", with its President, Fumio Ohtsubo serving as its head. The headquarters would serve to quickly verfy the safety of the employees and their family members, as well as conditions at company sites, retailers and logistics/procurement partners in the effected areas. With electrical shortages being expected, it also requested all business units within Japan to switch off all illuminated outdoor advertising and discontinue any other non-essential electricity use. In addition, Panasonic decided to make a donation of 300 million yen, along with various emergency supplies such as 10,000 radios, 10,000 flashlights, and 500,000 dry batteries to the quake victims.
- Unloading the Truck Loaded with Relief Supplies
Panasonic's Executive Officer as well as President of Panasonic's Consumer Marketing Jun Ishii, makes it to Sendai personally. The following day together with the employees of local sales companies, he begins visiting retailers in these areas to offer the condolences and deliver relief supplies (portable stoves, blankets, plastic containers etc.) and emergency equipment kits (dry batteries, flashlights, radios).
That morning, President Ohtsubo issues a message to all employees via Intranet, Panasonic's internal website. He calls on everyone "as employees of the Panasonic Group," to "carefully consider what should be done in this situation and take action accordingly." He also states, "we at Panasonic, and our society as a whole, have sustained great damage. We must quickly assess the situation and act appropriately to ensure the continuity of our business. In times like these, every one must share a sense of urgency and act in a positive manner to contribute to society. I call upon each of you to lead the way".
On this same day, production activities were partially resumed at SANYO's Tokyo Plant.
President Fumio Ohtsubo spent the entire day visiting the plants in affected area on April 6. He offered strong words of encouragement to the employees involved in the recovery effort.
Approximately one month after the earthquake, Panasonic Group-wide fundraising activities saw employees in Japan donate a total of approximately 159 million yen, and employees overseas donate approximately 77 million yen to date. Donations have also been received from a large number of overseas companies.
By April 28, 2011, production has been resumed at all major sites in the affected areas.
Panasonic donated the Life Innovation Container to the town in Miyagi, one of the towns devastated by the earthquake in March. By May, the container was actively put to use to generate power for communication equipment to connect the town and the prefecture's emergency headquarters, including satellite telephones, computers, and transceivers and televisions, etc.
- The Life Innovation Container (LIC) Donated to Minami Sanriku-cho in Miyagi
- Using Power from the LIC at the Emergency Headquarters
- The "Basketball Clinic" in Yamagata
The Yamagata Plant and Sendai Plant, both located in northeast Japan, hosted a pair of sports events for children and other local residents affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. The Yamagata Plant sponsored the Panasonic Cup, a mini basketball tournament. A total of about 200 children formed 11 teams to take part in what proved to be a very exciting contest. The event also featured a "basketball clinic," in which the children enjoyed training by coaches and players from the Panasonic's professional basketball team. The Sendai Plant invited elementary school students from the affected area to attend a professional Japanese league football match between Vegalta Sendai and Gamba Osaka.
Airlifting Relief Supplies Even from Overseas
- Japanese Employees Loading Flashlights from Brazil with Indonesian Batteries
80,000 donated by Panasonic Gobel Group, Indonesia, and 40,000 airlifted from Panasonic do Brasil were sent to the Emergency Headquarters in the affected area.
We also loaned 20 TOUGHBOOKs and about 900 Let's Note laptop PCs to NGOs and NPOs providing aid. We are also providing PC usage support and maintenance.
Wishing Happiness Will Come Upon the Children
- Panasonic Staff Help Clean a Retailer's Mud-soaked Storage Area
Many employees have also participated in volunteer activities such as the clean up and removal of rubble in the affected areas to date since the earthquake.
Panasonic also has actively engaged in activities to help bring smiles back to the faces of the children hosting a "Smiles and Laughter 2021" program in Northeastern Japan. Using know-how accumulated through the Kid Witness News video production program for children, this new program aims to put smiles on the faces of children whose schools sustained devastating damage in the Great East Japan Earthquake, and whose lives continue to be affected by the disaster, through the production of videos.
In addition, we'd like to say thank you for all the messages of hope received in the "Sakura of Hope" campaign, especially to the number of messages from abroad. We are sending the messages from everyone to the children of the Northeast Japan with cherry blossom trees.
Look forward to the report here on Panasonic News Portal.
- Panasonic Group's total donation: approximately 474,000,000 yen
- Total donations by employees etc. : approximately 326,000,000 yen
- Charity-donation from the proceeds at the Panasonic Open Golf Tournament: 40,000,000 yen
- In-kind donation: Life Innovation Container, radios, TVs, dry-batteries, flashlights, LED neck lights, solar LED lanterns, solar lights, electric kettles, electric thermo pots, humidifiers, microwave ovens, etc.
- Dandelions in the Affected Area Blossoming as if to Provide Encouragement