Back To Business (B2B) Initiative for Tohoku

Immediately following the emergency relief phase of the March 11 disasters, the British Chamber of Commerce established the Back to Business (B2B) Initiative for Tohoku. The Initiative supported 25 projects that:

  • Had the potential to demonstrate measurable results, generate economic returns and / or outcomes with long-term benefits for local stake-holders
  • Had the potential for future development, growth, and sustainability
  • Had a positive impact on business, community and / or society



  • Spent cash donations on the provision of sustainable resources to individuals and communities in the tsunami-stricken areas (we did not offer 'donations')
  • Ensured transparency by following every yen from the hand of the donor to the recipient
  • Worked on a needs-based system, driven by local stake-holders
  • Ensured efficiency and real outcomes
  • Employed a tried and tested process for approving expenditures
  • Acted as a conduit between survivors, volunteers, local business communities and supporters
  • Facilitated and supported requests for supplies, stock, funding and information on - an aid portal built by BCCJ member company KVH, in response to the BCCJ Disaster Relief Forum (March 30 2011)
  • Identified local suppliers to provide local businesses and communities with the resources they require to restart operations and activities
  • Focused on supporting a recovery area, not a disaster area (since June 2011, we did not fund food parcels, blankets or aid)
  • Allocated all funds by September 18 2012.


  • Funding plumbing for Peaceboat's Central Kitchen (former Kaizen izakaya) in Ishinomaki, providing almost 2000 meals/day to survivors and volunteers
  • Establishing a tented market area, for 7 shops in Minami Sanriku’s Utatsu area (opened on Oct 15 2011) funded by Refugees International Japan, Whisk-e and RBS
  • Providing 20 fishermen on Izushima with generators for resuming nightly catches and supplying power for the island
  • Supporting 16 fishermen of Funakoshi with the purchase and installation of an industrial freezer to bridge a crucial gap in the supply chain
  • Providing Green Farmers Association in Minami Sanriku with a multi-cultivator and green-houses to support with the tilling, planting and harvesting of 20 fields, in association with NPO OGA for Aid
  • Providing 15 workers at Ishinomaki’s Maruka Fish Market and Hibi Newspaper with bicycles purchased from Nakamura Cycle Shop
  • Working with Ishinomaki calligrapher Chiba Sougen to revive the creative arts industry in Ishinomaki
  • Transporting 20 students from the affected region to attend the Hakuba Scotland Culture Festival
  • Providing equipment for 8 Community Cafes in Yamamotocho, for residents living in temporary housing complexes
  • Funding the publication of "Postcards from Japan" and "Postcards to Japan" projects begun by artists in Iwate to promote cross-cultural communication, which has now enjoyed international success
  • Supplying one of Ishinomaki's oldest bakeries (PAO Bakery) with equipment that increased productivity and profit for 5 employees
  • Providing the women of Izushima with equipment to produce handicrafts made from kimono fabric rescued from the tsunami
  • Helping with the emergency relief by sourcing and supplying emergency relief itemsas directed by second Harvest Japan
  • Sourcing and sending water, vegetables and dried foods to areas stricken by the disasters, including Kessenuma and Rikuzentakata
  • Installed a solar power panel at Chime of Hope shopping area, in Onagawa, contributing to the function of the center. This generated more traffic in the shopping center as merchants can do the business at night and created a safer environment for kids commuting to the center for studying at night school. 
  • Provided office supplies and equipment - e.g. printer for staff - at night school in the Chime of Hope shopping area.


B2B initiative PHOTOS 

A Flickr feed, showing a selection of PHOTOS from the BCCJ's B2B projects in Tohoku can be found HERE

The BCCJ Disaster Relief Forum, established on March 31 2011 and supported by the British Embassy Tokyo, continues to connect local communities in Tohoku with representatives from the private, public and civil sectors, facilitating the earliest possible recovery of north eastern Japan.

Related Media

  • Duke of Cambridge visits Back to Business sites in Tohoku (March 1 2015) HERE
  • BCCJ "Road To Recovery" (1 year commemoration) event for Tohoku (March 2012) HERE
  • B2B initiative in BCCJ ACUMEN Magazine HERE
  • BCCJ Executive Director talks at Tohoku Planning Forum HERE
  • B2B Initiative in the Japan Times HERE