CSR / Environment

Content Menu

Employee activities of assistance and volunteer work in affected areas

Sony group has been engaged in the relief activities for the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, including monetary donation, product and goods donation, fund raising from employees with dollar to dollar matching donation from the group company to the same amount raised by employees, and other various unique supporting programs.
Please see below for more details;

As a part of it, employees of the Sony Group are engaged in activities of assistance in affected areas. As of May 31, more than 100 employees were taking part in activities to help people and communities in difficult circumstances.

Participation in a business community volunteer program to aid people in affected areas

Responding to the call issued by the Keidanren One Percent Club *, of which Sony is also a member, we recruited employees for this program, which is conducted by the Joint Committee for Supporting Voluntary Disaster Relief Activities. We sent these employees to affected areas in the prefectures of Iwate, Fukushima, and Miyagi. There, they engaged in work such as removal of mud and rubble in partnership with volunteers from other companies, in compliance with requests made to the volunteer centers in each district. Meetings were held for each group of volunteers to report on their activities and offer information of use to those in the next group. In these and other ways, the circle of support is widening. According to the schedule, 83 employees will have participated in the program by the end of June. We are committed to provision of ongoing assistance for the foreseeable future.

* The Club was established by Nippon Keidanren (the Japan Business Federation) in November 1990. Its members are committed to donating at least one percent of their recurring profit (corporations) or disposable income (individuals) to activities of social contribution.
■Comments by participating employees
The destruction was tremendous-even more than I had expected. It took 20 of us working for a whole day to finally clean up just one house. Seeing the damage firsthand made the scenes I had previously seen only on television very real and immediate to me. It made me think about what we could do to help out from now on. The volunteer work was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I was glad that I had taken part. I also want to relate this experience of mine to others inside and outside the company, and widen the circle of relief and assistance.

Assistance in neighboring districts by employees of Sony Sendai Technology Center

Sony Sendai Technology Center (located in the city of Tagajo, Miyagi Prefecture) was itself heavily damaged in the earthquake and Tsunami. Nevertheless, in parallel with the work aimed at resumption of the Technology Center's operations, its employees began taking part in relief activities at the volunteer center run by the local social welfare council on April 6, in order to assist recovery in neighboring districts, which were also heavily damaged. It is projected that, by the end of June, an extended total of about 40 employees will have been involved in work such as acceptance of volunteers and lending of materials at the Center.

The people who drove the cars to carry volunteers to and from the sites are themselves generally volunteers. They reportedly had a lot of trouble getting around and drove around with a map in one hand. At the suggestion of employees on the sites who witnessed these difficulties in the car, we donated portable navigation devices to the affected areas, and have heard that they are loved by the drivers, who find them very convenient.
■Comments by participating employees
There was a long queue in front of the desk for registration of volunteers. During Golden Week, a long national holiday in Japan in May, more than 400 volunteers a day were registered.
It was deeply moving to learn that so many people wanted to volunteer from all parts of Japan, from Hokkaido in the north all the way to Okinawa in the south, and even from other countries. I decided that I, too, had to find something I could do to assist recovery from the disaster.

Support for local recovery through football

The members of the football team Sony Sendai FC wanted to do what they could to help bring smiles back to the faces of children in affected areas. While working for resumption of operations in the company, they consequently decided shortly after the earthquake to take turns holding football classes for children in shelters on their own initiative. In the city of Tagajo, they also sponsored public viewing of the first home match played by J-League team Vegalta Sendai together with the Solar Bear Fund *. As this indicates, they are actively taking part in various events and assisting local recovery through football.

* Taking polar bear brothers as its mascots ("Solar" and "Bear"), the foundation is a non-profit organization engaged in diverse activities and work for the spread of renewable energy and environmental education for children.
www.sony.co.jp/SonyInfo/csr/ForTheNextGeneration/solarbear/index.html (Japanese only)
■Comments by participating players
I went to the shelter with the intention of lifting the spirits of the children there, but found myself, on the contrary, cheered by the smiles of the children I encountered. I realized that, through these activities, volunteers not only give things to others but also learn things from others. I hope to continue taking an active part in them. (Excerpted from the official Sony Sendai FC blog, Takahito Seta (MF), posted on March 25).

Two months have passed since the earthquake struck. There are still many people living under very difficult conditions in the affected areas. I have no doubt that each and every one of them is refusing to lose heart and doing his or her best to usher in recovery at the earliest possible date. That's why I, too, am determined to do what I can to help them out, even if only a little.
We gained a precious experience during the two months when we were unable to have football matches. I went to Ishinomaki to help with the removal of rubble and mud. I played football with the children at Matsugahama Elementary School in the town of Shichigahama and the cultural center in the city of Tagajo, and collected donations for the victims before our match with the Vegalta squad. I met various people, and they all were full of vitality - they gave me a lot of power. (Excerpted from the official Sony Sendai FC blog, Kazuyuki Maeda (MF), posted on May 25).

Support for reconditioning of laboratory space at Tohoku University

Tohoku University, which partners with Sony Corporation in activities such as joint research, suffered extensive damage in the disaster. To assist the resumption of these research activities at the earliest possible date, Sony sent seven employees with the requisite expertise to the University to help with the work of putting laboratories back in order over the period May 11-13. The seven assisted with the tasks of checking and packaging high-cost supplies that had fallen off shelves, shipping of items requiring repair, checking of the action of equipment such as measurement devices and power packs thought to have been damaged, and relocation to a new laboratory.

■Comments by participating employees
As a result of the earthquake, precision measurement devices and optical components tipped over or fell off shelves in the laboratory and were scattered over the floor. The huge earthquake left deep scars, and cast a pall of uncertainty over future research activities. After we had completed the activities to help out, we received words of thanks from the laboratory head for the major progress made on the road to resumption of research and recovery. He also mentioned his conviction that the recovery and research work would achieve significant results in the not-so-distant future. I got the impression that the seeds of new technology have already begun to sprout from Tohoku University, which is oriented toward practical science.

Support for Photo Display in affected areas

Photos discovered in Otsuchi-cho, Iwate Prefecture, after the Great East Japan Earthquake were put on display* on June 4-5, and seven Sony Corporation employees helped out at the event as staff. Photos and photo albums found in Otsuchi-cho by Self Defense Force personnel, volunteers, and neighbors were cleaned, dried, and then put on display. The Sony employees helped in various ways including organizing photos and greeting and helping visitors. Many of the visitors found their own photos or those of friends and were able to take these cleaned valuable photos back home although they had been dirty.

In addition, participants moved the many photos that were still not yet ready for display to a new storage location and removed mud, mold, and dirt.

* The event was held by a NPO, the Campaign for the Children of Palestine (Japan)
■Participating employee comment
I normally work on the development of digital cameras, but this experience reminded me of the special power of photographs and that photos deeply relate to people's lives. A large area was hit by this disaster, and there are still many photos that have not found their way back to their owners even outside Otsuchi-cho. At this event, I was moved by the happy faces of those who found their own photos or those of family members, and I would like to find something I can do as an individual and through my work.
Page Top