On February 20, Solar Frontier Kyushu Branch held an energy class for about 30 six graders in Kagoshima City. The branch has been participating in environmental education at elementary schools, which Kagoshima City is working on, with its business partners for three years. Many students at the school were very interested in the environmental issues. They asked a lot of questions while discussing global warming and learning about the benefits of solar cells.
In Japanese tradition, the age of 20 is considered very special as it is the turning point where a person enters adulthood. On January 21, Tokuyama Complex opened a class in an elementary school in Shunan City for fourth-graders who have reached "half adult" (age 10).
The purpose is to assist the students in thinking about how to live for the next 10 years until the age of 20 celebrate coming-of-age ceremony. The class is an annual activity and has been conducted for 5 consecutive years. Three of our employees became the class instructors and looked back on their lives; unforgettable moments and experiences, challenges they would have always wanted to take when they were 10, and shared them all with the students as “older brother and sister in life”.
The students gave positive responses. They commented that they became aware of the importance of having a dream and taking on a challenge. The school was full of sweet childhood memories that day, and we were glad to be able to deepen our bond with the local children.
On October 5, Hokkaido Refinery held a "Mirai wo Kanaderu Ongakukai" (music concert) at Tomakomai Civic Center. The purpose of this event is to create opportunities for young performers to present and to provide children with musical experiences, and to express appreciation to the local community. The concert is the 14th time in Tomakomai, counting from the predecessor concert, and the third time since the plan was renewed, with a record 1,200 of attendees.
Mr. Kohei Ueno; a saxophone player who won the Idemitsu Music Award in 2017, who is also the concert master of Panda Wind Orchestra, played twelve pieces mainly movie soundtrack; such as from Cinema Paradiso, with the addition of piano, and fascinated the audience with its variegated tones and eloquent emotional expressions. As part of the special program, 41 students from the Hokkaido Tomakomai Higashi High School Brass Band collaborated with Panda Wind Orchestra performed “Music Makers,” a famous piece of music for brass band. One of the students who played with the ensemble gave his impressions, saying, “I’m so glad being able to play with the professional musicians I admire.” Another commented, “I’m happy because they taught us the techniques during rehearsal.”
On the day before the performance, a music lesson was held at Tomakomai Municipal Takushin Elementary School to allow students to experience music. The students were strongly interested in the skills of professional players as they played close to them. In the musical instruments introduction session, the students voiced their surprise when the tuba player impressively made elephant sound. Some students who attempted to play the saxophone made a pleasing comment, saying, “I want to play the saxophone when I start junior high school.”
For one week from October 7, upon the request of the Cambodian Ministry of Mines and Energy, Idemitsu Kosan hosted a technical seminar on oil and gas exploration and development in Cambodia. This seminar was organized for some 25 technical personnel from the Ministry’s General Department of Petroleum.
Geological and drilling engineers dispatched by Idemitsu Kosan’s Exploration and Production Department to Phnom Penh served as lecturers. This dispatch project has been carried out as part of the project commissioned by the Information Center for Petroleum Exploration and Production (ICEP) over several years, and Idemitsu Kosan has regularly supported the project since the 1990s.
The seminar, which consisted of lectures and practical exercises, focused on subjects such as oil and gas drilling technology, in-pit measurement of underground oil gas reservoirs and their assessment methods. At present, in Cambodia, the country’s first offshore oil fields are being developed to start production, and partly because of this project, the participants asked questions actively, making technical discussions lively.
Aichi Refinery organized tours for a total of 842 fifth-graders from all of the ten municipal elementary schools in Chita City from September 13 – 25, 2019. These tours are organized jointly with JERA’s Chita Thermal Power Station every year so that they can be used as social studies materials at the elementary schools. At the refinery, the students learned how petroleum oil is formed and what roles petroleum products play in the society, and studied the colors and smell of crude oil and gasoline. The students also visited the oil tanks, refining equipment, and water spraying drill using water cannon trucks.
As a part of their volunteer activities, four employees of Idemitsu Plantech Aichi are conducted patrol running in the area around stations in Chita and Tokoname City. Patrol running is meant to not only bring the sense of security to the local community, but also to build deeper relationship with them. Our patrollers did the patrol while jogging; which is also to promote health, and greeted the locals. They provided information to the locals regarding suspicious person, and checked the condition of public facilities; for example road defects.
On July 29, as a part of the Chiba Prefecture Dream Challenge Experience School; an event sponsored by the Chiba Prefectural Board of Education, ten junior high school students visited the Advanced Technology Research Laboratories. This hands-on experience class is intended to allow children to experience advanced technology through professional work and encourage them to have dream for future job. The Laboratories supports this activity and this year is the 8th time it cooperated on the program.
The students learned about Idemitsu’s products and research at the presentation site in the Chiba Complex, and in the afternoon, at the Environment & Energy Research Laboratory, they received a lecture on the sticky components of natto (fermented soybeans) and attempted to extract them. They succeeded in taking the sticky components out of natto. On that day, our researchers were also greatly excited by the reaction of the students that was full of curiosity.
The Exploration & Production Department offered classes under the title “An Introduction to the Frontline of Environmental Chemistry: Part 2” at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, School of Materials and Chemical Technology. Some 30 graduate students participated in the classes. A total of four classes spanning ten hours were conducted in July. The sub-title for the classes was “Petroleum as a Time Capsule of the Global Environment,” referring to the ability to decipher the past changes in the global environment by analyzing petroleum in detail, in which Idemitsu uses the results of such decipherment to make its petroleum development business successful. One of the lecturers said, “In the Mesozoic era, when dinosaurs lived, the earth had a higher concentration of carbon dioxide in the air and a milder climate than today. This was also a period during which the continents were divided, leading to the formation of petroleum, which are indispensable to mankind. Indeed, the petroleum Idemitsu is producing in Norway also has its origin in this era.” The students listened attentively to the lecture, which connected the remote past to the present day.
On July 26, Science Show was held at Chiba Museum of Science and Industry. This show is intended to familiarize children with science and technology through experiments and experiences, and our Advanced Technology Research Laboratories takes part in the event each year. In this year’s show, researchers from the lab’s Advanced Materials Development Team presented the magic of light under the theme “primary colors of light and its polarization”. The children smiled with a look of delight as they attempted to create sparkling fish using refraction of light.
From May to August, Idemitsu Kosan offered ten energy classes at the Niigata Yukigunigata Mega-Solar Power Station, and this year’s classes were the 16th in the series conducted by our company. A total of 293 persons, consisting of 270 elementary school students in Niigata City and 23 parents/guardians, participated in the classes. Lecturers explained about Idemitsu’s renewable energy business such as geothermal and solar power generation while making solar cars so that the children could enjoy the classes. This activity provided the students and their parents/guardians with an opportunity to learning about energy with fun.
On August 3, Solar Frontier’s Kunitomi Plant held a summer vacation energy course, and 21 local elementary school students participated in it. This course has been organized annually since 2012, and is intended to educate children; who might become the leaders in the future, as well as to contribute to the global environment. Solar Frontier hopes that children will think about what they can do to mitigate global warming and put it into practice, and such wishes are put into the program when it is organized each year.
The course is also highly popular as a subject for independent research during the summer vacation because it enables students to enjoy studying energy and environmental issues while building a solar car using a PET bottle or visiting one of the world’s largest CIS thin-film solar cell factories. After learning about the environment and energy, the children thought hard about what they could do to mitigate global warming and put forward their ideas to each other.
On July 25 and 26, Agri-Bio Business Department held a summer workshop at Odaiba Gakuen Koyo Elementary School in Minato Ward, with about 40 energetic children participating. The theme of this workshop is "Biopesticides". The students observed ladybirds that feed on their natural enemies, aphids; which are harmful insects, and bacteria (bacillus bacteria) that protect crops from diseases. Some children looked into the microscope with a serious look, while others were excited to touch insects, and all were very interested. Finally, the children were delighted to receive rice "Koshiibuki" grown with beetles and "Tough Blocks*" as a souvenir. It was a fun day full of smile.
Solar Frontier conducted campus visit to provide lectures for university students as part of an educational program promoted by the Yokohama City Global Warming Promotion Council. These lectures, entitled "Solar Power Generation Business Environment and Solar Frontier’s Initiatives" were given to over 40 students majoring in urban and human sciences at Kanagawa University on June 11, and Yokohama National University on the 17th. In the second half of the lecture, we exchanged opinions about what services should be provided by using solar power generation". Thinking outside the box, the students delivered their creative ideas.
In order to encourage children to have interest in food safety by knowing better about biopesticides, Agri-Bio Business Department launched a picture book, and based on our research, this is the first picture book in agrochemical industry in Japan. The illustrator, Kaoto Satomi, depicts the invisible microorganisms and their activities in cute characters. The main character, Kakashiro, is a field hero who uses various creatures to protect delicious vegetables. The first book features bacillus, which protects agricultural products from diseases such as powdery mildew. Currently, the second book is currently under planning. Give your support to Kakashiro!
Idemitsu Unitech has been participating in the “Eye City Eco Project” to recycle empty cases of disposable contact lenses since 2018. All disposable contact lens cases, regardless of the manufacturer, are made of polypropylene and are suitable for recycling. Recycling is expected to contribute in CO2 emissions reduction, and the collected cases will be used as materials for various products (shirts, color pens, fans, etc. ). In addition, the sale of those products will be used to support visually disabled people. Currently, the recycling rate of empty contact lens cases is still very low, less than 1% of the total. Idemitsu Unitech will spread this project to all factories and sales offices to gain further cooperation.
Hokkaido Idemitsu-kai * and our Hokkaido branch office jointly held the 11th Hokkaido Idemitsu Children's Art Contest 2019 for elementary school students. This contest has been held since 2009 with the hope that the students would foster a spirit of valuing energy and loving their hometown, Hokkaido.
This year's theme were "The Power of Smile" for the lower grades and "Oil Active in Hokkaido" for the upper grades. The response from all elementary schools in Hokkaido was so immense that we received 7,735 entries! The judgement was conducted on October 10 by special judge from the Hokkaido Shimbun. The Vice Chairman of Hokkaido Idemitsu-kai, as well as business committee members also became the judges.
The result, 86 entries were elected. This year, posters of the top-ranked works were displayed at Idemitsu service stations in Hokkaido. The selected works and regional special exhibitions were also held at seven locations in Hokkaido from November to February.
The event was held around the former approach to Myokyo-ji Temple on November 17, and our Chiba Complex opened its own stall “Somutei”, selling fried chicken and menchikatsu. The 17th Anesaki Monzen-ichi was organized by the Ichihara City Chamber of Commerce and has become a social gathering event loved by the locals, with local elementary schools and circles performing dances and Japanese drums on the stage in the center of the venue. Anesaki Town’s mascot “Anebon”, also appeared and livened up the venue. Our Chiba Complex members had a great time socializing with the locals.
On July 21, Aichi Refinery hosted the Green Belt Experience, an event where children and their parents in Chita City can observe nature and collect insects inside the green belt. The green belt was designed to make Aichi Refinery a friendly business site without harming the neighborhood and protect the surrounding ecosystem in the area. With the support of members of the Student Executive Committee for “Inochi wo Tsunagu Project”, who work for environmental protection, the children were overexcited in collecting grasshoppers and dragonflies on the grass.
On July 9, a seminar to discuss about “High Biodiesel Blend Project” was held in Bangkok, promoted by the Thai government. About 100 people from government officials, local oil companies, automobile companies and others participated. Idemitsu was requested to give a lecture as we provide technical support to achieve high biodiesel blending in Thailand. Energy Solution Department, on behalf of Idemitsu, gave a keynote speech, explaining about the company’s initiative to improve the quality of highly stable biodiesel by oxidation using partial hydrogenation technology. Idemitsu Kosan will continue to contribute to environmental conservation in Thailand.
On June 20, 24 young engineers from the Japan Aromatic Industry visited the Pasir Gudang Plant for inspection and technical exchange. Established in 2009, Pasir Gudang Factory mainly produces styrene monomers and polystyrene. The engineers were briefed on the factory’s initiatives for safety and maintenance management and given a tour to the production site, offices, and other facilities. They actively asked questions about specific duties in the site, living environment in Malaysia, managers’ initiatives to maintain safety and stable operation and communicate with local staff members. This indicates the participants have high interest in overseas manufacturing sites. In the future, Pasir Gudang Plant will continue to provide opportunities for factory visit, training, and other programs for young engineers who will lead the next generation in the petrochemical industry.
The three plants of Idemitsu Unitech in Chiba, Mie, and Hyogo Prefectures respectively hosted summer evening festival on August 7 to 9 to deepen relationship with the residents in the neighborhood and the employees’ families as a form of appreciation to all employees and staff from partner companies for their services. The main event at the three sites was barbecue, and in addition, each plant had its own planned attractions so that all participants could enjoy the festival.
Chiba Plant organized Super Ball Fishing and Bingo near Kujukuri Beach, and all participants from children to adults had fun amidst the cool breeze coming from the sea. Mie Plant organized an arm-wrestling competition. Families and coworkers gave enthusiastic encouragement as the games grew more and more exciting, and the result, our newbies came up as winners for both men and women category. At Hyogo Plant, executives and leaders wearing unique T-shirt they made themselves; “Barbecutive” written on it. They were in charge in grilling the meat and vegetables, and served them to the participants.
On July 27, Nagaura Summer & Bon Odori Dance Festival was held in Nagaura neighborhood, where Aichi Refinery’s dorm is located. Every summer, our young employees living in the dorm serve mitarashi dango (balls of rice-flour dough on a bamboo stick, dipped in soy-and-sugar syrup) to the dancers. The mouth-watering recipe is passed down from their seniors through generations. Browned, savory-smelling balls of rice-flour dough, covered with plenty of syrup, are popular among children – so popular that people make a long line to get them. Our young employees prepared not less than 600 sticks, but gone in an instant. They enjoyed socializing and learning how to dance Bon Odori in a circle from residents in the neighborhood.
On May 19, Chiba Complex participated in the 54th Anesaki Industrial Festival. This year’s festival was held under the theme “Let’s Enjoy the 2019 Anegasaki Industrial Festival Full of Smiles.” Various local associations, schools, and businesses livened up Anesaki’s largest festival. Dances, live performances, and other sorts of entertainment were presented on a special stage, and many booths and stands were set up at the festival site. From the Idemitsu Group, General Affairs Section of Chiba Complex set up a snack bar called Somutei. Next to the booth, colorful flowers grown at Idemitsu Yumenoen Farm were sold, meanwhile, Idemitsu Credit set up a booth to introduce Idemitsu Card where visitors can win lottery.
On May 11, Chita City Nature Investigation Team, in cooperation with Aichi Refinery, organized “Green Space Visit” event at Aichi Refinery. Together with team, some 110 local residents gathered, and under the warm sunshine, they visited the locally famous Aichi Refinery’s Green Belt, collected insects. We were glad to see local residents having a good time at our refinery.
On May 27, Hokkaido Refinery invited 17 representatives from Tomakomai town council, fishermen’s cooperatives, and administrative agencies to Tomakomai - Idemitsu Petroleum Forum. This forum was launched in 2004, and this year’s forum is the 16th. In this forum, Idemitsu provides information to the locals regarding petroleum market, the role of the Hokkaido Refinery as the only refinery in Hokkaido (northern Japan), and many other topics. It is a valuable opportunity for the locals to directly deliver their opinions and suggestions to the refinery. On the forum day, Hokkaido Refinery reported its support for energy supply post-earthquake in Iburi Tobu area (southern Hokkaido) in September 2018, and Mirai wo Kanaderu Ongakukai (music concert), one of Idemitsu’s socio-cultural CSR.
On May 27 - 31, Hokkaido Refinery opened its cherry tree lines (sakura) along the south road in its premises for the 11th time since 2009. Since warmer days than usual continued, double-flowered cherry trees started to bloom in mid-May and went fully bloom when the event was held. A total of 109 Tomakomai citizens who get excited to see cherry blossom every year, and those who applied for the first time after seeing this event on the website and newspaper, came to enjoy the cherry blossom. Not only the cherry, Tomakomai citizens’ happiness blossomed on those days.
Idemitsu Australia Resources supports Girls Academy, a youth development support organization aimed at developing female high school students of Australian aboriginal descent through sports and cultural exchange, so that they can play active role in the society.
In 2019, as part of this initiative, the company invited five female high school students who belong to this organization and two representatives from its secretariat to Japan for six days from April 15 so that they could obtain a deeper understanding of Japanese culture and history.
These students and officials visited Idemitsu head office in Marunouchi, Tokyo, to introduce Girls Academy ‘s activities and meet our employees. After that, they visited Kyoto, Osaka, and Hiroshima. Idemitsu Australia Resources promised to the students that in the future, it would continue to contribute to the development and cultural activities of regions where it conducts business projects.
Since 2015, Idemitsu Kosan’s Hanoi Office has supported classes to study Japanese language at To Hoang junior high school in Hanoi City. On April 22, this school; where about 550 out of 1,000 students choose Japanese as their second foreign language, held a ceremony to mark the completion of the Japanese-language study course.
Idemitsu Hanoi Office presented souvenirs to 50 students who made good grades, and after the ceremony, the students visited the service station (SS) of Idemitsu Q8 Petroleum (IQ8), which began to operate in 2017. Observing how the SS staff served the customers in Japanese hospitality; the way they cleaned cars, wiped their windows, and seeing how the customers were highly satisfied with it, the students were impressed and commented how they adore Japanese spirit at work.
Japanese language learning support is highly appraised by Hanoi Department of Education and Training, In 2019, it even organized a Japanese-language contest jointly sponsored by 12 schools, including To Hoang Junior High School.
On May 18, Seibu Oil; one of Idemitsu’s affiliate companies, sponsored the 6th Seibu Fureai Festival at the auto-camp site of Ryuozan Park in Sanyo-Onoda City, Yamaguchi Prefecture. The festival is held to express the company’s appreciation to the residents of the local community for always being cooperative so that Seibu Oil can sustainably conducts its business operations. On the festival day, local residents participated by performing Yosakoi and other dances. Meanwhile, the local university students exhibited their research works. About 1,800 visitors came to enjoy the event despite of light rain. Thank you to all participants and visitors, the festival was a great success.
On June 28, a total of 51 fifth graders from elementary schools in Ichihara City visited Chiba Complex. After learning about the role of petroleum, the students toured the premises of the Complex. In order to deepen their interest and understanding of environmental protection, with the cooperation of forest instructors from an NPO, they studied how the forest inside the plant area was created.