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Growing with Society

Continuing the Reconstruction of Areas Stricken by the Great East Japan Earthquake

Serving the Changing Needs of Disaster Areas, Step by Step

The Tohoku Operation Department served as a base for evaluating local needs and providing quick support.

The Tohoku Operation Department served as a base for evaluating local needs and providing quick support.

Komatsu has continued to offer support through its core business that directly serves the changing needs of areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake.

In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, we set up our Tohoku Operation Department in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture. This led to a cooperative effort with governments in the affected areas to identify the needs and support reconstruction, primarily by meeting requests for rent-free construction equipment and temporary housing. Currently, support and cooperation for full-scale reconstruction are essential, and we continue to provide practical, step-by-step support as the situation requires.

First Stage Direct support for victims of the earthquake and tsunami   Second Stage Recovery of local communities   Third Stage Support and cooperation for full-scale reconstruction

Providing Direct Support and then Facilitating the Recovery
of Local Communities

First Stage       Direct support for earthquake and tsunami victims

Immediately after the earthquake, the most urgent challenges were to remove the scattered debris and restore damaged roads. To aid in these efforts, Komatsu gathered 264 pieces of construction equipment from around the country and loaned them free of charge. In addition, 671 employees from the sales and support divisions helped operate the equipment at 55 sites in the disaster-stricken prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.

Second Stage       Recovery of local communities

As finding a "space to pursue everyday life" became a top priority for residents of the disaster-stricken areas, Komatsu began contributing to local recovery efforts by providing temporary container houses and prefabricated housing free of charge. Local communities are using these facilities as schools, kindergartens, post offices and clinics.

Hydraulic excavator in operation in Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture, where removal of debris was a pressing need

Hydraulic excavator in operation in Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture, where removal of debris was a pressing need

Temporary post office provided by Komatsu in Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture

Temporary post office provided by Komatsu in Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture

Today: Supporting Full-Scale Reconstruction

We are now in the third stage of assisting in the full-scale reconstruction. Komatsu donated forklifts to the NPO "Signal of Hope" to support the recovery of local industry. About 60 forklifts are now in service at damaged fisheries facilities. We also established the Komatsu Safety Training Center, Miyagi Center and cover half of the tuition to train much needed construction equipment operators and assist disaster victims' in finding employment. More than 4,700 students have already participated in the training, many of whom are now demonstrating their skills at recovery and reconstruction sites.

Providing aid to students who will play important roles in manufacturing is another endeavor we are currently involved with. As part of this initiative, we provide "Komatsu Scholarships" through the Institute of National Colleges of Technology, Japan to students of national technical colleges in the Tohoku and Northern Kanto regions, which were stricken by the disaster. In addition, we established the "Rio Tinto-Komatsu Scholarship" in collaboration with the mineral resource mining company Rio Tinto and a Komatsu customer, and provided them to students at National University Corporation Tohoku University.

Forklift donated to support the recovery of the fisheries industry

Forklift donated to support the recovery of the fisheries industry

Komatsu Safety Training Center, Miyagi Center, in Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture

Komatsu Safety Training Center, Miyagi Center, in Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture

Harnessing Our Advanced Technology as a Manufacturer
to Support Reconstruction

Komatsu is supporting reconstruction efforts by harnessing our advanced technology, which we have developed as a manufacturer of construction machinery. Komatsu sent radio-controlled equipment to remove rubble and debris at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Regarding the removal of radioactive materials, there are strong expectations for computer-aided bulldozers that utilize ICT to automatically excavate surface soil to a fixed, preset depth.

Construction equipment on ships cannot be used at many reconstruction sites, such as shallow areas of rivers, debris-cluttered riverbanks and small fishing ports. In order to reach these sites, we refurbished our amphibious bulldozer for the first time in 20 years. The bulldozer was developed in 1971 as an alternative to mounting construction equipment on boats for work in shallow waters at the mouths of rivers or in bay areas, but its production has since been discontinued. We selected and upgraded one of five amphibious bulldozers still in service and then dispatched it for use in a recovery effort on a bridge that had been damaged by the earthquake. This radio-controlled bulldozer can be used not only on land but also as deep as seven meters underwater, and is currently being operated at reconstruction sites that are difficult for ships to reach.

Looking ahead, we will continue to support full-scale reconstruction efforts by leveraging the Komatsu Group's management assets.

Amphibious bulldozer in operation in the Natori River in Miyagi Prefecture

Amphibious bulldozer in operation in the Natori River in Miyagi Prefecture

Return of the Amphibious Bulldozer
Leading the recovery and reconstruction of damaged fishing ports, bays and rivers

Mr. Masaki Umakakeba,
Civil Engineering Technology Dept., Aoki Asunaro Construction Co., Ltd.

I was speechless as the current of the Natori River reversed and swallowed nearby houses. The tsunami was of unprecedented size! At a little after 3 p.m. on March 11, 2011, a stunning scene was unfolding before me on a monitor in the lobby of New Chitose Airport. Although two years have passed since that day, the coastal areas of Sanriku, Miyagi and Fukushima seem far from recovery.

Since the first amphibious bulldozer was developed in 1971, I have been involved in construction work for breeding zones, fishing ports, bay areas and riverbanks on the northern coast of Iwate Prefecture, which was devastated by the tsunami. The five amphibious bulldozers still in service, however, were worn out from long use and required one repair after another. Two years ago, the people at Komatsu stood up for earthquake reconstruction and completed a major refurbishment of the bulldozer. Komatsu factory staff who worked on the repairs were amazed at the sophisticated technology used in 1971.

We are still receiving requests to dispatch equipment to construction sites for recovery and reconstruction and for use in shallow waters and the sea. With help from my good partners at Komatsu, I hope to pass along the amphibious bulldozer and its outstanding performance to the next generation.

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