TOKYO, July 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --The Coca-Cola Japan Reconstruction Fund held a ceremony at the Miyato Elementary School in Higashi Matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture, on July 9 to commemorate the completion of solar power facilities for which the fund provided a substantial grant.
The Fund decided to provide assistance after evaluating a request to help reinforce disaster management with new solar power facilities and to help educate pupils about clean energy. The Fund is paying a consumption tax-inclusive grant of up to 30 million yen to acquire and install solar facilities. They comprise an emergency solar generator with a maximum capacity of 20 kilowatts and storage batteries with an aggregate capacity of up to 16 kilowatts.
The completion ceremony began with opening remarks from Yukichi Onuma, Deputy Mayor of Higashi Matsushima. Mr. Onuma then handed a letter of appreciation to Alexander B. Cummings, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of The Coca-Cola Company. Mr. Cumming spoke about the recovery assistance efforts of the Coca-Cola Reconstruction Fund and its funding for setting up solar facilities at the Miyato Elementary School. Yoshimitsu Kusaka, the Principal of Miyato Elementary School, spoke about using the solar facilities in environmental education, saying in a message to children, "We want you to use the installed solar panels to learn about energy." Representing the pupils, Soshi Monma, a sixth-year student, said, "We will carefully use the solar power produced on the roof." Finally, Shogo Kamei, Chairman of Sendai Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Ltd., presented a commemorative gift to Soshi.
After the ceremony, all of the students were present in front of a monitor displaying solar power generation and usage progress, with one of the students acting on their behalf in turning the monitor on.
Mr. Cummings visited Japan to check on progress with the Coca-Cola Company-established fund.
The solar panels were installed on the roof of the school building, while the storage batteries are in a storage shed on the premises. A monitor in the hallway helps students evaluate performance by displaying the amount of electricity generated, carbon dioxide reductions, and other information. The new solar facilities will contribute to almost all of the school's regular electricity requirements while functioning as a valuable source of emergency power.
The Great East Japan Earthquake cut access through the sole road from the mainland to Miyato Island, prompting almost all of its residents to seek shelter at the Miyato Elementary School. It took around a month and a half to restore power, highlighting issues with shelter facilities. The new solar generation setup reinforced disaster management while providing hope that the 1,000 or so residents can use this shelter as a hub for community restoration.
The Coca-Cola Japan Reconstruction Fund decided to provide grants to purchase and install solar generating facilities under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. The grants are to assist public elementary and junior high schools in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefectures, which the Great East Japan Earthquake hit hardest, and help educate students about the benefits of clean energy. The fund aims to provide assistance to a total of 50 schools in three rounds between September 1, 2011, and March 31, 2014. In September 2012, the fund plans to start its second round of soliciting applications for solar facilities grants as part of its ongoing disaster recovery assistance program.
Masaaki Kudo, Chairperson of the Higashi Matsushima City Board of Education, Miyagi Prefecture:
Most buildings in the villages of Ohama, Tsukihama, and Murohama were destroyed in the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2012. The sole road from the mainland to Miyato became impassable following the catastrophe, and vessels were swept away. Cut off from the outside world, most local residents took refuge at the Miyato Elementary School. For around two months they stayed communally at the school, surviving on supplies from vessel operators from other areas and from Self-Defense Forces helicopters. During that time, the people had no electricity or regular water supply. Despite hopes for a quick restoration of services, it took around a month and a half to get everything back on line, creating a keen awareness among local officials of the need to enhance facilities at the school.
The Miyato Elementary School escaped the tsunami. The quake caused some structural damage that has been mostly repaired.
The quake weakened the Miyato district's lifelines, prompting local residents and school officials to seek facilities that would provide better security and safety following disasters. It was as a result of this process that we were able to receive solar generating and storage battery facilities for the Miyato Elementary School through the Coca-Cola Reconstruction Fund's Eco Project aid for public elementary and junior high schools. We are deeply grateful for this assistance.
We look for the solar generating facilities to be of tremendous assistance during power outages while serving as a valuable hands-on tool for educating the young about clean energy that is free of carbon dioxide emissions, raising their overall environmental awareness. In the near future, we hope for junior and elementary schools throughout our city to install solar generating facilities to make these institutions more robust during disasters while using the facilities to teach about the environment.
Yoshimitsu Kusaka, Principal of the Miyato Elementary School, Miyagi Prefecture:
I would like to express my deep appreciation to Coca-Cola for recently giving us a solar power system.
The Miyato district experienced massive destruction in last year's Great East Japan Earthquake. Although my school functioned as a shelter following the disaster, the community lifelines of electricity and running water were severed, making daily living very difficult for quite some time. Immediately after the quake, the Miyato district was completely cut off from the rest of the world.
I am extremely grateful for Coca-Cola's generosity in enabling us to install a solar power system at the school. The earthquake drove home to us just how important it is to conserve goods and resources. The new generating system is gratifyingly timely in that respect, and we will use it as a tool in providing science, environmental, and moral education.
We will carefully use the new system so we can secure power during emergencies while conserving electricity during normal times. Again, thank you very much for the assistance.
Alexander B. Cummings, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer,
The Coca-Cola Company:
I would like to reiterate our deepest condolences to those who lost their loved ones in the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011. Although we cannot even begin to imagine your suffering, we are committed to doing anything we can to help you build a brighter future.
We hope that this solar generating system will be an assured source of renewable energy for current and future students at Miyato Elementary School and for the people of Tohoku when times are good and during emergencies.
I would like you to remember that whenever you turn on this switch, the thoughts of all of us in the Coca-Cola family and countless other people will be with you. And keep in mind that we are always ready to lend a helping hand and be of service to you.
-- Public elementary schools receiving assistance in the first round of environmental education grants from the Coca-Cola Japan Reconstruction Fund
Tanohata Elementary School
Tanohata, Shimohei District
Tanohata Junior High School
Noda Elementary School
Noda, Kunohe District
Noda Junior High School
Higashi Matsushima Miyato Elementary School
Shiraishi Daiichi Elementary School
Otama, Adachi District
Otama Junior High School
Shinchi, Soma District
Shinchi Fukuda Elementary School
Shinchi, Soma District
Shinchi Elementary School
Shinchi, Soma District
Shinchi Komagamine Elementary School
Shinchi, Soma District
Shinchi Shouei Junior High School
-- The Coca-Cola Japan Reconstruction Fund
The Coca-Cola Company set up the fund within the Coca-Cola Education and Environmental Foundation on March 24, 2011, to assist areas stricken by the Great East Japan Earthquake. The fund seeks to help rebuild lives by supporting the construction of public facilities, particularly those for educating children, in keeping with the philosophy of the Coca-Cola Educational and Environment Foundation. The fund determines its specific initiatives after liaising closely with relevant organizations in disaster areas, reporting on its activities through its website. The Coca-Cola Company created the fund to augment the support efforts of the Coca-Cola (Japan) Company, Limited, and 12 bottlers. They collectively donated money and the equivalent of more than seven million 500-milliliter PET bottles of beverages to assist victims. Total disaster support from the Coca-Cola Company exceeded 2.5 billion yen by August 29, 2011.
The following website details the activities of the Coca-Cola Japan Reconstruction Fund:(http://www.cocacola.co.jp/info/donation/en_index.html)
-- The Coca-Cola System in Japan
This system encompasses several entities. One is Coca-Cola (Japan) Company, Limited, which supplies, manufactures, and sells concentrates and undertakes marketing, including product planning and development and advertising. The other entities are 12 regional bottlers and other affiliates. The system conserves energy in the course of business to pursue growth while reducing environmental impact. The system has employed renewable energy in various aspects of operations. For example, it set up solar-powered vending machines and deployed biodiesel-fueled vehicles in its fleet.
-- The Coca-Cola Educational and Environmental Foundation
The Coca-Cola Educational and Environmental Foundation was established in June 2007 to integrate the activities of two predecessors. One was the Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan Scholarship Foundation, which operated for 37 years. The other was the Coca-Cola Environmental Education Foundation, which served for 14 years. In keeping with its guiding principle of "Healthy Active Life," the foundation engages in diverse environmental, educational, and sports initiatives so young people can ultimately build a better world.
-- The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. Led by Coca-Cola, the world's most valuable brand, our Company's portfolio features 15 billion dollar brands including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Georgia and Del Valle. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, ready-to-drink coffees, and juices and juice drinks. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy our beverages at a rate of more than 1.8 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, support active, healthy living, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. Together with our bottling partners, we rank among the world's top 10 private employers with more than 700,000 system employees. For more information, please visit www.thecocacolacompany.comor follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/CocaColaCo.
Public Affairs & Communications Group
Coca-Cola (Japan) Company, Ltd.
SOURCE Coca-Cola (Japan) Co., Ltd.; Coca-Cola Educational & Environmental Foundation