TOKYO, Oct. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Coca-Cola Japan Reconstruction Fund held a ceremony in front of the Iwate Prefectural Office on October 16 to commemorate bus donations to three prefectural vocational high schools (Taneichi High School, Kuji Higashi High School, and Ofunato Higashi High School) and two special support schools (the Miyako School for Children with Disabilities and the Kesen Koryo School for Special Needs Education) in coastal areas that were stricken by the Great East Japan Earthquake.
(Photo: http://prw.kyodonews.jp/opn/release/201210187702/ )
The fund donated the buses in response to a request from the prefectural government to assist young people who will eventually help the local fisheries industry recover from the tremendous damage suffered in the quake.
The buses for the high schools are mid-sized models that can carry around 45 passengers between school and coastal training sites. The buses for the special support schools incorporate wheelchair lifts and can carry 53 people. The fund supplied the buses at a total cost of around 100 million Japanese yen.
The shared objectives of the fund and the prefectural government with this initiative are to encourage students to undertake activities and to help revitalize the community. The two parties thus arranged a bus design contest for current high school students. The contest theme was "recovery." The fund chose the best designs from students at three high schools for wrapping around donated buses.
The bus donation ceremony began with opening remarks from Kunihisa Yamura, director of the Iwate chapter of the Coca-Cola Educational & Environmental Foundation and president of Michinoku Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Ltd. Yamura said, "It is a great honor to present five buses based upon the advice of the Iwate prefectural government, and we hope that everyone is pleased with these vehicles. We wish to continue contributing as much as possible to the community through the soft drinks business."
Yamura presented five buses to Hiroki Kanno, director of the Iwate Board of Education. Kanno then gave a letter of appreciation from the Governor of Iwate Prefecture to Yamura and expressed his own thanks to the Coca-Cola official.
Keiichi Matsutaka, executive managing director of the Coca-Cola Educational & Environmental Foundation, presented the bus design awards of each school and showed video messages of appreciation from the winners. He also handed out commemorative gifts to prize winners. Kazuo Takahashi, head of the Iwate Prefectural High Schools Principals Association, expressed appreciation on behalf of these winners for the buses and added that he hoped that the vehicles would embody hopes for a recovery.
The Coca-Cola Japan Reconstruction Fund will continue supporting quake-affected areas in Japan by helping to construct educational and public facilities for local children and otherwise foster their learning.
-- Stakeholder Comments
Hiroki Kanno, Director of the Iwate Board of Education:
I would like to express our gratitude on this occasion and reiterate our appreciation to the Coca-Cola Educational & Environmental Foundation for its ongoing assistance to children in areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake.
When students from the Miyako Fisheries High School visited, a year three girl living in temporary housing after her home was destroyed in a tsunami said that, "We have received tremendous support from everyone around the nation. I have obtained employment with a local enterprise. I am determined to do my little bit to assist with the recovery of Miyako." I think that her statement was also a precious gift from the Coca-Cola Educational & Environmental Foundation and other parties to the high school students of Iwate Prefecture. The children of Iwate Prefecture are deeply grateful for the great kindness that they have received, and will do their utmost in studying and engaging in club and other activities to help reconstruct their region. Again, we are thankful for the tremendous support.
Michinori Nakamura, Principal of Ofunato Higashi High School:
We would like to thank Coca-Cola for donating a school bus to transport our students to training sites. The bus used until now was transferred from another high school when our high school was merged to transport students to agricultural training sites. But the bus's performance has deteriorated over the years, and has broken down quite a few times. All of us are thrilled to receive this wonderful new model, which I am sure that students will enjoy riding. We will use this bus very carefully for many years to come. Again, thank you!
Hiroyoshi Kanazawa, Principal of Kuji Higashi High School:
We are deeply grateful to the Coca-Cola Company of the United States through Coca-Cola Japan and Michinoku Coca-Cola Bottling for providing a new bus for students as part of assistance for recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake.
We are a comprehensive school with seven key subject areas. With the maritime studies and agricultural streams, we need to transport students to training vessel and farm locations. We have repaired our current bus numerous times but such fixes have reached their limits.
Coca-Cola's support is a wondrous gift for our students, who have studied so hard despite the challenges following the earthquake.
I have heard that the design of our bus features a rainbow of seven colors to represent our seven academic streams rising into the skies. I am confident that our students will improve their capabilities and move onward and upward in driving a recovery from the disaster, as the bus design implies. Once again, I would like to convey our sincere appreciation for Coca-Cola's assistance. We pledge that our students will do their best in their positions to ensure a recovery.
Masahiro Watanabe, Principal of Taneichi High School:
Thank you very much for the wonderful bus.
We are the sole school in Japan with a curriculum that combines ocean development and regular studies for budding aquanauts. More than 6,000 individuals have graduated from our institution over the past 64 years. We will use this bus to help streamline dive practices and other educational activities.
Our entire institution is committed to producing people who can contribute enthusiastically to society by drawing on a balance of knowledge, virtue, and physical fitness.
Yuko Miura, Principal of Kesen Koryo School for Special Needs Education:
We have long dreamed of having a bus in which people can remain in their wheelchairs.
Using narrow exits can be hazardous, increasing the burdens on teachers. As wheelchairs are customized, they have very delicate structures that make it undesirable to fold them a lot. We are deeply thankful that the new bus resolves these issues.
Our bus usage will increase a lot because of the lift feature, so thank you.
Hajime Hamada, Principal of Miyako School for Children with Disabilities:
Thank you very much for your gift to our school.
The number of high school students has surged in recent years, making it difficult to accommodate the wishes of those wishing to be driven to school. A rising number of students in wheelchairs has resulted in many challenging hours spent putting these individuals on and off the bus.
So, the bus from Coca-Cola has been a salvation indeed. It is the first bus in the prefecture to incorporate an electrical lift. It can also carry more passengers, instantly addressing issues we have faced to date. Since the Great East Japan Earthquake, rail services have been cut off. I believe that the new bus will enhance the start of each day for students by improving the comfort of their commute.
The new bus will be full of smiling children. We will care for this bus for many years to come to bolster our educational activities. Again, thank you very much for your support.
-- Comments from Bus Design Contest Winners:
Moka Niinuma, Year Two Agricultural Science Student, Ofunato Higashi High School:
For me, it all began when my teacher suggested that I try bus design. I was somewhat anxious, but I decided to enter the contest because I was interested in drawing. I gave my take on the theme of "everyone feeling better." I considered balloons, flowers, and feathers as motifs because they are easy for people of all ages to understand. I was very surprised and gratified that my design was adopted.
Daisuke Sakashita, Year Three General Studies Student, Kuji Higashi High School:
When I heard about the contest to design the exterior of the donated bus, I pictured my school in my mind to make it easier to identify the vehicle as a school bus.
I made the bottom of the bus blue to represent the ocean, using diagonal lines to represent a rainbow. Our school is located near the sea. We have seven academic streams. I used a seven-color rainbow to represent those streams and symbolize the school.
My original design was for a rainbow with straight lines, but I changed my mind and reoriented the rainbow toward the sky in keeping with my wish for a school to continue progressing.
Around a year and a half has passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake. I hope that people seeing our bus on the streets will feel a little happier.
Shigenori Fukkiri, Ocean Development Studies Staffer, Taneichi High School:
Our design resulted from the efforts of the entire Ocean Development Department.
The staff and students routinely use this design, so I thought it was a perfect match for us. The design highlights the desire for unity within the department and the school, which is why we decided to use it for our bus.
The school uses two types of symbol. Separate from the design adopted for the bus is one that includes a map of Japan. We decided to use a design with a map of Japan that clearly shows Iwate Prefecture and, in keeping with the theme of "recovery," reflects our desire to cultivate the seas of Japan and encourage students to continue our diving heritage.
-- Buses Donated to Each of the Following Five Schools
- School (High schools): Taneichi High School (Kunohe-gun, Hirono-cho), Kuji Higashi
High School (Kuji), Ofunato Higashi High School (Ofunato)
- Manufacturer: Hino Motors
- Specifications: Mid-sized model, Can carry 43 to 45 passengers, Showing school names
- Remarks: Buses with school-specific design wraps
- School (Special support schools): Miyako School for Children with Disabilities (Miyako),
Kesen Koryo School for Special Needs Education (Ofunato)
- Manufacturer: Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus sales
- Specifications: Large model, Can carry 53 passengers, With wheelchair lift, Showing school names
-- Overview of Bus Design Contest
- For Three high schools
- Description Design contest for exteriors of donated buses
- Theme Recovery
1. Design to help make students and communities happier
2. Locally oriented design
3. Include a text message
- Submissions Three designs of bus width and length
- Adjudication Deliberations within each school on internally submitted work
About Coca-Cola Japan Reconstruction Fund
The Coca-Cola Company set up the fund within the Coca-Cola Education and Environmental Foundation on March 24, 2011, to assist areas stricken by the Great East Japan Earthquake. The fund seeks to help rebuild lives by supporting the construction of public facilities, particularly those for educating children, in keeping with the philosophy of the Coca-Cola Educational and Environment Foundation. The fund determines its specific initiatives after liaising closely with relevant organizations in disaster area, reporting on its activities through its website. The Coca-Cola Company created the fund to augment the support efforts of the Coca-Cola (Japan) Company, Limited, and 12 bottlers. They collectively donated money and the equivalent of more than seven million 500-milliliter PET bottles of beverages to assist victims. Total disaster support from the Coca-Cola Company exceeded 2.5 billion Japanese yen by August 29, 2011).
The following website details the activities of the Coca-Cola Japan Reconstruction Fund:
About Coca-Cola System in Japan
This system encompasses several entities. One is Coca-Cola (Japan) Company, Limited, which supplies, manufactures, and sells concentrates and undertakes marketing, including product planning and development and advertising. The other entities are 12 regional bottlers and other affiliates. All Coca-Cola System companies have collaborated in aiding recoveries from the Great East Japan Earthquake since the emergency assistance stage.
About Coca-Cola Educational and Environmental Foundation
The Coca-Cola Educational and Environmental Foundation was established in June 2007 to integrate the activities of two predecessors. One was the Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan Scholarship Foundation, which operated for 37 years. The other was the Coca-Cola Environmental Education Foundation, which served for 14 years. In keeping with its guiding principle of "Healthy Active Life," the foundation engages in diverse environmental, educational, and sports initiatives so young people can ultimately build a better world.
About The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. Led by Coca-Cola, the world's most valuable brand, our Company's portfolio features 15 billion dollar brands including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Georgia and Del Valle. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, ready-to-drink coffees, and juices and juice drinks. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy our beverages at a rate of more than 1.8 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, support active, healthy living, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. Together with our bottling partners, we rank among the world's top 10 private employers with more than 700,000 system employees. For more information, please visit www.thecoca-colacompany.com or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/CocaColaCo.
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Coca-Cola (Japan) Co., Ltd.
SOURCE Coca-Cola (Japan) Company, Limited; Coca-Cola Educational & Environmental Foundation