Civil Society

July 28, 2013


Regional Japanese Banks, NPO Establish Mutual Funds to Support Affected Area Businesses

Keywords: Civil Society / Local Issues Disaster Reconstruction Money NGO / Citizen 

After the Great East Japan Earthquake, new financial schemes in quake-hit areas are helping local businesses and creating jobs. The "Securite Fund to Support Quake-hit Areas" established in April 2011 by Music Securities, for example, solicits 10,500 yen (about U.S.$112) per unit, half of which goes to investment and the other half to donation. Music Securities, a Japanese micro-investment platform, publishes information about companies in the fund on its website, allowing people to invest in the companies they want to support and companies to obtain capital. So far, the fund has collected about 900 million yen (about $9.57 million) from 25,000 investors in the two years since its establishment.

In November 2011, non-profit organization (NPO) PlaNet Finance Japan also established "Sanriku Tomodachi Fund for Economic Recovery" (meaning, "a friendship fund to restore the Sanriku region," which was heavily affected by the earthquake and tsunami) in partnership with Kesennuma Shinkin Bank and with a generous grant from U.S.-based Mercy Corps, a non-governmental organization (NGO) working in emergency response. For the last two years, these institutions have been supporting small enterprises through zero-interest financing.

In October 2012, the NPO and NGO also established "Minami-soma Tomodachi Fund for Economic Recovery" jointly with Abukuma Shinkin Bank. The fund is designed to support entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized businesses working to revitalize areas where residents have been forced to evacuate because of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident or the tsunami.

In February 2013, Kesennuma Shinkin Bank established "Kesennuma Kibou Kikin" ("Kesennuma Hope Fund") in partnership with Kesennuma City and the Mitsubishi Corporation Disaster Relief Foundation. The fund is being used to reinvest in local industries and rebuild the Kesennuma area using the yield the foundation earns from businesses in Kesennuma City.