Business

Aeon to launch tourism venture aimed at helping Japan's quake-hit Tohoku region

by Shusuke Murai

Staff Writer

In a bid to boost the Tohoku region’s recovery from damage caused by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, retail giant Aeon Co. will launch a venture offering tourism and other activities in affected areas.

The major supermarket and shopping mall chain has already been involved in supporting the region by selling food harvested in disaster-hit areas. Producers were hit hard by rumors of contamination from the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

The new program will focus on six quake-hit districts in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures.

This year, the company will launch a snow-trekking tour in the city of Tono in Iwate Prefecture, where depopulation has been a major issue.

The goal of the tour is to raise awareness of the recovery efforts and attract more people to the city, a hope shared by many local residents interviewed by staffers, Aeon spokeswoman Yuka Uchiyama said.

“As our group companies have managed a wide variety of businesses other than retailing, we hope to contribute to Tohoku’s recovery efforts by using our strengths,” she said on Thursday.

Aeon has also been involved in the region’s recovery efforts by organizing a volunteer program since 2012.

The company has also organized tree-planting projects in areas where buildings and trees were washed away by tsunami.

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