Harnessing the desire to support reconstruction and protecting smiles
We strive to provide continuous support that meets the swiftly changing needs of disaster-affected areas.
We aim to get close to affected areas and use the latest technologies to provide support for sharing information that will aid reconstruction and for connecting people and regions at the earliest possible opportunity.
Great East Japan Earthquake reconstruction support
Getting children smiling through sports and cultural activities
In 2018 and 2019, we held the “SoftBank Tohoku-Kizuna Cup” to provide continuous encouragement for children in Tohoku to realize their dreams and ambitions. Participation was open to elementary school students from Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures.
The cup comprises five events – basketball, baseball, soccer, bicycle, table tennis, woodwind and brass ensemble performance. It was a unique tournament that is held in venues used for pro-competitions and practice and offers children valuable opportunities they would not come across in normal life, such as the chance to play in friendly exhibition matches and meet famous athletes. Our aim was to hold a competition where the spotlight is on children, not just the star performers.
Support in close coordination with affected areas
As time passes, issues facing disaster-affected areas become more specific to each area. In April 2017, we established a CSR sub-office in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, with the aim of supporting Tohoku while working more closely with individual areas. As of September 2018, twelve employees were stationed at the sub-office and they aim to work closely with local communities so that when issues come up, they can not only provide disaster-relief using methods that only SoftBank can deliver, but also solve the various issues affecting each individual area of Tohoku.
Working with customers to support children in affected areas
Our Charity White program enables customers to donate 10 yen each month on top of their monthly usage charge. SoftBank matches this donation (10 yen per customer) so that a total of 20 yen per customer per month goes to the Central Community Chest of Japan and Ashinaga charities, helping them to support children in affected areas.
Kumamoto Earthquakes reconstruction support
Pepper, delivering smiles to affected areas
In February 2018, we collaborated with SoftBank Robotics to hold remote interactive lessons which used Pepper to bring together elementary school students in Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, which was affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, and Minamiaso, which was affected by the Kumamoto earthquakes. Previously the students had been interacting through letters and the like, but through Pepper they were able to see each other's faces for the first time as they shared information about culture and lifestyles in their regions and discussed how they could connect reconstruction efforts.
Since March 2017, SoftBank Group Corp. has been engaged in an initiative as part of the “Pepper Social Contribution Program – Social Challenge,” which will see Peppers deployed to 24 temporary housing complexes and five local governments in Kumamoto Prefecture (Nishihara, Aso District; Mashiki and Mifune, Kamimashiki District; and Ozu and Kikuyo, Kikuchi District) over the next three years. Although Kumamoto is already on the path to reconstruction, there are still many people who have lost or are unable to return to their homes and are living in temporary accommodation.
The result of moving from a familiar living environment into temporary accommodation has reduced the opportunities for interaction with fellow citizens. This initiative was started with the idea that Pepper may be able to help improve this situation.
In Ozu, Pepper is supporting efforts to keep temporary housing residents healthy by participating in regular exercise sessions held in communal areas and interacting with the residents. Elderly participants in particular enjoy an app that Pepper with songs and dances familiar to people their age, and they use it regularly. This provides them with a great chance to get exercise by copying Pepper's movements.
From May to July 2016, we collaborated with SoftBank Robotics to dispatch the humanoid robot Pepper to all five evacuation centers in Kumamoto, which included elementary schools, with the aim of providing emotional care. We have been told that “Many of the elderly people who had isolated themselves in rooms in the evacuation center came out to talk to Pepper,” showing that Pepper's unique qualities can be used to provide support to disaster-affected areas.
Holding baseball coaching classes in areas affected by the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes
We are collaborating with the Fukuoka SoftBank HAWKS to deliver smiles to children at elementary schools in Kumamoto Prefecture through sports. Since June 2016, we have been holding baseball coaching classes run by former HAWKS players. Kids who have participated in the classes shared their thoughts with us, including things like, “I couldn't play baseball in the days following the earthquake, so it was fun to join the classes and run around. I'll do my best to continue getting better at baseball.”
Implementing disaster victim support measures
For customers whose contract or invoicing address is within an area for which Japan's Disaster Relief Act has been applied, in addition to extending usage charge payment deadlines for customers who normally pay their bills over the counter, we are also implementing the following measures.
For customers whose mobile phones have been lost or damaged, we provide a replacement at a reduced cost or for free. We also lend mobile phones and other equipment to groups carrying out disaster reconstruction efforts in order to aid information collection in disaster-affected areas. Also for customers who use our internet connection services, such as Yahoo!BB, or domestic phone services, we are implementing support measures that include a reduction or free termination of monthly basic usage and service usage charges and the free replacement of damaged rental internet connection equipment.