Mitsubishi Corporation

Press Room

June 25, 2015
GRA Inc.
Abukuma Shinkin Bank
Mitsubishi Corporation Disaster Relief Foundation

GRA Inc. Celebrates First Anniversary of ICHIGO WORLD
Miyagi-based Strawberry Farming Enterprise Shows off Its Technology to World

GRA Inc., a farming corporation located in Yamamoto-cho in Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan, today celebrated the first anniversary of its strawberry farm “ICHIGO WORLD”. GRA is the recipient of 50 million yen in support funds from the Mitsubishi Corporation Disaster Relief Foundation (MCDRF), which complements grants already obtained from Abukuma Shinkin Bank, a local financial institution.
GRA was founded shortly after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of March 2011 with the aim of contributing to economic revival in Yamamoto-cho. Prior to the earthquake, Yamamoto-cho was the largest strawberry producing area in all of Tohoku, but their fields suffered extensive damage during the tsunami, destroying the town’s main livelihood. Drawing on the IT service management expertise of its founder, GRA worked in collaboration with local farmers to establish state-of-the art facilities for the production high quality strawberries, branded as “MIGAKI-ICHIGO,”¹ for sale across Japan. GRA also produces “MIGAKI-ICHIGO Mousseux” its own brand of sparkling wine made from strawberries.
ICHIGO WORLD is aiming to produce 20 tons of strawberries a year, with a target to 50 thousand bottles of its “MIGAKI-ICHIGO Mousseux” brand of sparkling wine, and 30 thousand units of canned sparkling wine, to be marketed as “MIGAKI-ICHIGO Canette”. The initiative serves as a model for ‘sixth industry’ agriculture, as it seeks to turn out high value-added products from agricultural commodities. After the opening of the facility, which hires five local farmers, GRA has also been proactive in developing a support project for farmers through the creation of a farmers’ franchise.
Over four years have passed since the disasters hit Tohoku in 2011, but recovery in Miyagi Prefecture and other affected areas is far from complete. MCDRF’s support to GRA is part of its aim to help boost economic revitalization and generate employment in these areas. The Foundation intends to continue collaborating with local financial institutions such as Abukuma Shinkin Bank to support efforts aimed at industry revitalization and employment creation, and overall economic recovery in areas affected by the disasters.
1.     The Japanese word "migaki" means polish, while "ichigo" translates as strawberry. After the disasters of 2011, Yamamoto native and IT professional Hiroki Iwasa contemplated ways to help his hometown recover. After researching about towns that created long-lasting prosperity despite having no resources, such as Venice and its Venetian glass, he concluded that combining the expertise of Yamamoto’s strawberry farmers with his own IT skills to create, “polish” and market a special brand was a way forward. This led to the creation of high quality ultra-sweet strawberry breeds. Branded as MIGAKI-ICHIGO (or “polished strawberries”), GRA now grows and markets these strawberries, along with their value-added by-products, not only in Japan but also overseas.
ICHIGO WORLD Strawberry Farm
MIGAKI-ICHIGO Sparkling Wine
GRA Inc.
Location:47 Sakura Zutsumi Aza Yamadera, Yamamoto-cho, Watari-gun, Miyagi, Japan
Established:January 2012
Capital:34.2 million yen
Business Activities:
Production, sales and export of agricultural products; research and development of agricultural technologies; production region branding; manufacture of processed goods; development of farm management systems; and promotion of overseas production.
Representative:Hiroki Iwasa, Representative Director/CEO
Abukuma Shinkin Bank
Headquarters:2-4 Haramachi-ku, Sakae-cho, Minamisoma, Fukushima, Japan
Date Established:September 1950
Capital:10.7 billion yen
Business Activities:Savings, loans and other financial services
Representative:Yoshihiro Ota, President
Mitsubishi Corporation Disaster Relief Foundation
Headquarters:2-3-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Founded:March 2012 (incorporated as a Foundation in May 2012)
Endowment:10 billion yen
To contribute to recovering in regions affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake or March 2011 through the provision of scholarships and grants for NPOs and social welfare corporations as well as for the recovery of industry and job creation.
Chairman, Ken Kobayashi (President and CEO, Mitsubishi Corporation)
Deputy Chairman, Yasuhito Hirota (Executive Vice President, Mitsubishi Corporation)
Executive Director, Yoshiyuki Nojima (General Manager, CSR and Environmental Affairs Department, Mitsubishi Corporation)

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