Volunteers working to rebuild lives

Giving back to society is very important to Philip Morris Japan (PMJ). Besides its ongoing initiatives against domestic violence and child abuse, PMJ was quick to respond to the immediate needs of the affected areas following the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. Although five years have since passed, PMJ continues to contribute to the region through programs that address the changing needs of the affected areas.

In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, PMJ responded with a ¥100 million donation for emergency aid and mid to long-term relief. Working together with non-profit organizations, the company launched projects aimed at supporting the restoration of the Tohoku region. The company also matched donations from staff, and encouraged employee volunteer activities in the affected areas.

The motivated and determined employees are an integral component of PMJ’s corporate contributions. The company staff approach their contributions to local communities with the same vigor that they bring to their job, with the company fostering an environment where all members can actively contribute their time and energy. The company believes deeply that by working together with its employees, a positive difference can be made.

The volunteer work started in the immediate aftermath in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, and later expanded to other parts of Tohoku. To date, more than 1,000 PMJ employees have joined volunteer efforts in the region. In the initial phases, staff worked to clear rubble and debris from houses, factories and streets. As time passed and the needs in the affected areas shifted to improving the mental well-being of victims and rebuilding towns and communities, PMJ adapted its activities to meet changing priorities.

One example is the volunteer work at Yotsuba Farm in Higashi-Matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture, supporting a young farmer seeking to rebuild his hometown. This project aims to restore a 120-year-old historic residence and surrounding farmland, which was badly damaged in the tsunami, and rebuild the community through agriculture. According to Yotsuba Farm’s Kotaro Atsumi, “PMJ offered us both mental and spiritual sustenance after the disaster and we never felt alone.” The hard work by PMJ volunteers restoring the farm has led to crops that are sold to area restaurants and residents. Employees who have participated in this program also benefitted from the experience. “I feel we need to give continued support to the disaster area,” one of the volunteers said.

Another commented: “It was a good opportunity for me to think again about this devastating disaster. Even after returning to my hometown, I’d like to do something for Tohoku.”

Another example would be the construction of a playground at “Aoi-area,” a new residential area in Higashi-Matsushima that is currently under construction. With the support of Higashi-Matsushima and a non-profit organization, PMJ built a playground and had a barbecue with residents. In recognition of PMJ’s efforts, the vice mayor of Higashi-Matsushima visited volunteers during the construction, and the company also received a certificate of appreciation from the Higashi-Matsushima School Board director. “We thank PMJ for their support and hard work. I’m happy to see children happily playing in this new park,” said a representative of the Community Renovation Committee of Aoi-area.

The volunteer spirit is ingrained in many PMJ employees. When torrential rain triggered large-scale mudslides in the city of Hiroshima, PMJ employees in the area volunteered in disaster relief activities there. They removed mud from homes and engaged in general cleanup efforts. Employee volunteers in Iwate Prefecture also gather once a year in Kamaishi city to support that community’s restoration. They have undertaken such projects as rebuilding a baseball field, cutting grass and removing debris from farmland.

PMJ is fully supportive of the efforts of its employees in these volunteer activities, and facilitates these activities in various ways. As a responsible corporate citizen in Japan, PMJ will continue to give back and contribute to the society in which its employees live and work.

Download the PDF of this 5-year memorial of Great East Japan Earthquake


フィリップ モリス ジャパン(以下、PMJ)は、責任ある企業市民として、地域社会へ貢献していくことはとても重要だと考えている。2011年に東日本大震災が発生した際には、PMJの社会貢献の柱であるDV被害当事者への支援や児童虐待防止活動に連動した支援プログラムのみならず、被災地への緊急支援も早急に実施してきた。同社では現在も、被災地のニーズに応じた活動を継続的に行っている。