Lawson will offer full support to disaster relief and reconstruction efforts in Kumamoto

TOKYO, JAPAN, 2016-Apr-28 — /EPR Retail News/ — Lawson, Inc. would like to extend its deepest sympathies to those who suffered terrible loss in the devastating 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake. We sincerely hope for the speedy recovery of the affected regions and will offer our full support to disaster relief and reconstruction efforts in Kumamoto.

Lawson is keen to do all that it can to help, and fulfil its responsibility as a part of the social infrastructure that serves our communities. Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry lists convenience stores as key infrastructure along with electricity and gas supply on its earthquake recovery homepage. The government has urged all convenience store chains to reopen their stores to help ensure a stable supply of food products to quake-damaged areas. We have also noted that more people are taking refuge in convenience store parking areas because they feel safer there when aftershocks come.

Convenience stores were first recognized as Japan’s “fourth infrastructure arm” after gas, water and electricity following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeast Japan since convenience stores not only sell food and drink, but a broad range of daily conveniences including batteries, toilet paper, underwear, and other essential daily items. While many stores are unable to open for business in emergency situations, convenience store franchise owners do their utmost to stay open, regardless of any damage they have themselves incurred, and, together with the headquarters, do everything possible to use their unique manufacturing and distribution systems to ensure a stable supply of products. Another key role for Japanese convenience stores is to utilize their manufacturing and distribution systems to deliver emergency supplies to areas affected by natural disaster as soon as possible.

This time, 80 of Lawson’s 141 stores in Kumamoto prefecture were forced to close on the day of the first earthquake on April 16, 2016 due to power cuts and severe damage to store shelves. However, all stores felt a strong sense of responsibility to reopen as soon as possible so they could be of service to local communities. As a result, nearly all stores were back in operation within two days on April 18, 2016. Our local stores used all means at their disposal to ensure as many different products reached their shelves as possible, alleviating product shortages in areas where the earthquakes had disrupted  traffic networks and cut off regular distribution routes and channels.

Lawson’s Kumamoto earthquake aid measures
Personnel support:

  • After April 16, a total of 200 Lawson headquarter staff from across Japan are being dispatched to the quake-hit areas to offer wide ranging support to local stores; from clearing up debris in damaged stores to delivering products safely to stores that can operate and helping to run the stores themselves.
  • Lawson’s top management went immediately to Kumamoto to provide support and encourage local store owners and staff.

Supply of products to stores:

  • Lawson employees used passenger cars to deliver products to local stores after problems occurred at the Kumamoto delivery center.
  • Delivered alternative products from the Fukuoka and Saga delivery centers.
  • Supplied stores in Kumamoto prefecture with rice balls made in Yamaguchi prefecture.
  • Transported 18,000 bakery items manufactured in factories in Chiba and Saitama by air from Tokyo’s domestic Haneda Airport. Lawson’s dispatched personnel then delivered the bakery items directly to stores.

Emergency food aid:
Between April 15-18, Lawson delivered the following products to the areas affected by the Kumamoto earthquake. The goods were distributed through local municipal organizations.

Water 1,200 bottles
Pot noodles 11,000 meals
Rice balls 1,900 items
Lunchboxes 100 items
Sushi 100 packs
Drinks 3,500 bottles/cans
Bananas 600 items
Oranges 1,000 items
Disposable chopsticks 11,000 pairs
Plastic bags 1,000 items

Financial donation:
Lawson began collecting donations on April 16 via in-store collection boxes, the Loppi multi-media terminals, and the company website. The donated money is being put to good use in the quake-affected areas through the Japan Red Cross Society.