Ten Years Have Passed Since the Great East Japan Earthquake – Expanding Ties with the Tohoku Region to Many More People and the Whole World
Relocation, Renovation and Opening of Watasu Nihonbashi, a Facility for Sending Out and Exchanging Information on the Tohoku Region,
in Nihonbashi Mitsui Tower in Spring 2021
- Create a Facility that Builds a Bridge to People’s Happiness Worldwide and the Future, with the Aim of Solving Social Issues
March 1, 2021
Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd.
Tokyo, JAPAN – March 1, 2021 – Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd., a leading global real estate company headquartered in Tokyo, announced today the relocation of Watasu Nihonbashi, a facility for sending out and exchanging information on the Tohoku region, to Nihonbashi Mitsui Tower, and the opening of the upgraded facility in spring 2021. The facility first opened on March 3, 2015, following various personal encounters in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake. On Wednesday, March 3, which marks the sixth year since the facility was first opened, a pre-opening of Watasu Nihonbashi will be held, with a public viewing of Watasu Market & Gallery, which is a certain zone of the store. The other areas of the store, including Watasu Dining & Bar, which will provide restaurant services, are scheduled to be opened successively. The Nihonbashi area, where Watasu Nihonbashi is located, is a core strategic area of Mitsui Fudosan. Mitsui Fudosan is advancing the Nihonbashi Revitalization Plan in unison with the private sector, public sector and local community under the concept of “preserving and revitalizing the heritage while creating the future.”
Watasu Nihonbashi has conducted activities over the past six years as a permanent facility for expanding ties with Tohoku. So far, it has conducted activities such as offering a dining menu using food ingredients from Tohoku and hosting interactive learning events with children from Tohoku. Mitsui Fudosan has worked to achieve the relocation, renovation and opening of Watasu Nihonbashi so that it can continue to implement these activities and expand its circle of ties with Tohoku even further than before.
The new store will not only offer more space than before, but it will also provide an abundant dining menu and more sophisticated food dishes. The information it sends out from its gallery and library will also be upgraded and expanded. By doing so, Watasu Nihonbashi will evolve into a venue where people can feel even closer ties with the Tohoku region.
The interior décor uses FSC®-certified forest materials from Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture. Mitsui Fudosan became the first comprehensive real estate developer* to acquire FSC Project Certification, which is an international forest certification system.
Mitsui Fudosan will endeavor to turn this venue into a bridge that links Tohoku and Tokyo, and one that spans further across to the rest of the world and the future.
In 2018, Mitsui Fudosan laid out VISION 2025, the Group’s long-term vision. Guided by this vision, Mitsui Fudosan aims to successfully establish a sustainable society through the creation of neighborhoods, thereby solving various social issues. Looking ahead, Mitsui Fudosan will continue to accelerate ESG management even further.
Exterior view of Watasu Nihonbashi
Interior view of Watasu Nihonbashi
Key Points of the Relocation, Renovation, and Opening of Watasu Nihonbashi
- The catchphrase of the relocation and renovation is “Build a Bridge from Nihonbashi to the Future, Widen the Circle of Happiness Worldwide,” in addition to the concept of “creating bridges of the heart between people and the future,” which has been in place since Watasu Nihonbashi was first established.
- Five zones where visitors can feel ties with Tohoku in various ways
- Mitsui Fudosan became the first comprehensive real estate developer* to acquire FSC Project Certification, which is an international forest certification system.
* Source: FSC database
Relocation, Renovation and Opening of Watasu Nihonbashi
Watasu Nihonbashi can trace its origins back to volunteer activities undertaken in Minamisanriku by Mitsui Fudosan employees as individuals after the Great East Japan Earthquake. Since 2015, Watasu Nihonbashi has conducted activities based on its position as a Mitsui Fudosan project. Mitsui Fudosan has adopted “Build a Bridge from Nihonbashi to the Future, Widen the Circle of Happiness Worldwide” as the catchphrase for the relocation and renovation of Watasu Nihonbashi, in addition to the concept of “creating bridges of the heart between people and the future,” which has been in place since the facility was first established.
Watasu Nihonbashi will continue its exchange activities and related initiatives in Tohoku and the rest of Japan, as it continues to conduct exchanges with local communities. At the same time, it will proactively carry out international exchanges with those in developing countries, Southeast Asia, and other locations. Watasu Nihonbashi will continue working to provide information and serve as a venue for exchange events for even more people, thereby creating a bridge with the rest of the world and the future.
“Build a Bridge from Nihonbashi to the Future, Widen the Circle of Happiness Worldwide”
Mitsui Fudosan has adopted “Build a Bridge from Nihonbashi to the Future, Widen the Circle of Happiness Worldwide” as its catchphrase for the relocation and renovation of Watasu Nihonbashi, in addition to the concept of “creating bridges of the heart between people and the future,” which has been in place since the facility was first established.
Besides its activities to date, Watasu Nihonbashi will take the opportunity of this relocation and renovation to conduct a broad range of activities eyeing not only Japan but the whole world and the future.
Five Zones Where Visitors Can Feel Ties with Tohoku in Various Ways
The new store is divided into five zones, and visitors can gain first-hand experience of ties with Tohoku in each zone.
(1) Watasu Market & Gallery
Regardless of whether they are dining at the facility or not, all customers are free to enjoy shopping and obtaining a variety of information.
The Market area showcases delicious local products and other items that staff members have found as they have gone back and forth to Tohoku.
In addition, the Gallery area displays a record of the activities of Watasu Nihonbashi to date and messages received from people involved with the Watasu Nihonbashi project.
Watasu Market & Gallery
(2) Watasu Dining & Bar
Watasu Dining & Bar builds sustainable relationships with local partners by purchasing food ingredients through direct contracts with more than 10 Tohoku food producers. In parallel, it provides customers with attractive food options that are only possible with fresh ingredients sourced directly from food producers. Lunch menu options have increased, and customers can enjoy a more sophisticated dining experience.
Watasu Dining & Bar
A meal from the lunch menu
Various Tohoku food ingredients
(3) Watasu Library
Since the first facility was opened, Watasu Nihonbashi has always had a library corner. This library was expanded in collaboration with Plot-d (Shinjuku, Tokyo), out of the desire to “provide an opportunity for visitors to learn something they did not know before,” which Watasu Nihonbashi has had since it initially opened.
(4) Watasu Private Room
Private rooms that can be used by up to 12 people
Visitors can spend time leisurely in a comfortable and relaxed space.
Watasu Private Room
A wide range of events, such as workshops and exhibitions, can be held in this expansive, approximately 45 m2-space, which is equipped with a large projector and screen.
When events are not behind held, Watasu LOOP+ will be operated as a dining restaurant where customers can enjoy views of the Nihonbashi neighborhood.
Acquisition of FSC Project Certification
In the interior construction of Watasu Nihonbashi, the store uses FSC-certified materials for 92% of its wood materials, such as ceilings, walls, fixtures and fittings, counters, decorative beams, and panels. For this, the new store received issuance of FSC Project Certification in 2020. FSC is a sustainable forest management solution. (Certification number: SA-PRO-008269)
As Minamisanriku carried out post-disaster recovery work, groups in the town acquired FSC FM Certification and FSC CoC Certification in 2015, and they have been working to create disaster-resilient neighborhoods friendly to people and the environment. Learning from these activities, the new Watasu Nihonbashi store has acquired FSC Project Certification using FSC-certified materials from Minamisanriku.
- About FSC Project Certification
- About SDGs Benefitting from FSC Certification
Comments from Related Parties Ahead of the Relocation, Renovation and Opening of Watasu Nihonbashi
Comments by Jin Sato, Mayor of Minamisanriku
Watasu Nihonbashi was born of encounters and ties. It will remain a venue where numerous ties are bridged together.
As its name suggests, Watasu Nihonbashi is a venue where ties between many different people are bridged together. (“Watasu” means “to cross” a bridge in Japanese.) The ties between Watasu Nihonbashi and Minamisanriku can be traced back to personal encounters after the Great East Japan Earthquake, and came into existence through a growing circle of various ties.
I’m thankful that Minamisanriku and Watasu Nihonbashi have continued their close partnership. I’m grateful that Watasu Nihonbashi has supplied food products from Minamisanriku and conducted exchange activities with junior high schools in our town.
For me, Watasu Nihonbashi is an important base where I can reunite in Tokyo with people I have met in Minamisanriku.
In a comfortable space surrounded by the scent of Minamisanriku cedar, people can meet one another and connect as they enjoy delicious food.
I look forward to spending such wonderful moments at the new store
Comments by Yoshikazu Kitahara, Managing Director (Representative), Executive Vice President, Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd.
Marking 10 Years Since the Great East Japan Earthquake
I remember my first encounters with the people of Minamisanriku. Every single person looked cheerful and was smiling. Why could they be so positive after they had endured such a terrible experience?
We went to offer our support to the people of Minamisanriku, but instead they were the ones who gave us strength and courage.
They accept the sadness and suffering of others as their own. They weep and laugh together and rejoice together when problems are solved.
Amid extreme circumstances, I saw firsthand the awesome power of getting everyone to work together as people and living through challenges with a forward-looking mindset.
Both in mind and body, we learned about kindness, consideration, ties, mutual aid, compassion and self-sacrifice from the people of Minamisanriku. Watasu Nihonbashi is like a jewel box filled with such feelings held by many people. I would like to continue to nurture Watasu Nihonbashi carefully as such a precious jewel box.
Moreover, I would like to continue to be an adult who can resolutely face any kind of natural disaster, whether it is COVID-19, a major earthquake, a typhoon or other such calamity. That is our duty to ensure the happiness of children who will lead the way for the future.
About Watasu Nihonbashi
Watasu Nihonbashi contains the Japanese word “Watasu,” which means “to cross” a bridge. The name thus expresses a desire to create a bridge between Minamisanriku, Tohoku and Nihonbashi. Furthermore, “Watasu” also means “to increase harmony,” and “to widen the circle of one’s connections.” Therefore, the name also embodies the desire to cherish the harmony between people, in particular harmony in the Japanese cultural sense; and to expand various networks connecting people.
Watasu Nihonbashi can trace its origins back to the time when Mitsui Fudosan’s female employees started going back and forth to Minamisanriku as volunteers after the Great East Japan Earthquake. The networks of ties between people gradually expanded from there, and exchanges with the people of Minamisanriku were born. Against this backdrop, Watasu Nihonbashi was established as an initiative on March 3, 2015, as a means of realizing the aspirations of a dedicated voluntary group of employees who were inspired to find a way of using Mitsui Fudosan’s resources to continue supporting Minamisanriku on an ongoing basis. As a permanent facility for sending out and exchanging information, Watasu Nihonbashi conducts a variety of activities to learn from and communicate the initiatives of those who have overcome the intense and sorrowful experience of the earthquake and have been taking solid strides forward.
From March 2015 to September 2020, approximately 100,000 customers visited Watasu Nihonbashi. Through ties with local people, various exchanges were born. At the new store, Watasu Nihonbashi will continue its activities to expand its circle of ties with many more people.
Mitsui Fudosan Group’s contribution to SDGs
The Mitsui Fudosan Group aims for a society that enriches both people and the planet under the principles of coexist in harmony with society, link diverse values and achieve a sustainable society, and advances business with an awareness of the environment (E), society (S) and governance (G), thus promoting ESG management. By further accelerating its ESG management, the Group will realize Society 5.0, which the Japanese government has been advocating, and contribute significantly to achieving the SDGs.
*The initiatives covered in this press release are contributing to seven of the UN's SDGs.
|Sustainable Cities and Communities
|Life below Water
|Life on Land
|Partnerships for the Goals