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Chambers of Commerce supporting local biz amid epidemic

  • May 3, 2020
  • , Jiji Press , 10:30 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, May 3 (Jiji Press)–Regional chambers of commerce and industry around Japan are coming up with creative ways to help local businesses struggling to survive amid the coronavirus epidemic.

The Sapporo Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Hokkaido, northernmost Japan, launched a website in early March to showcase local delicacies such as cheeses, sweets and agricultural and fisheries products. The initiative seeks to support producers left with large stockpiles of goods after product fairs were canceled due to the epidemic.

In about two weeks, the site racked up sales of over 100 million yen through online shopping and other routes. It receives over 10 requests for product listings per day.

The Obihiro Chamber of Commerce and Industry, also in Hokkaido, is providing information on eateries with takeout services at its “Tsunagu Marche” website.

Cardinal, a French restaurant, has created appetizer platters and course menus for people to enjoy while drinking at home.

“We are drawing up a delivery menu, such as Tokachi beef stewed in red wine, with producers,” restaurant owner Yoshihiro Kato, 41, said.

At the Nanao Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Ishikawa Prefecture, central Japan, young people set up a website for locals to order takeout services from eateries in the area and another website for people outside the prefecture to order items from the area.

“Customers are posting (information about the sites) on social media, so we’re becoming more known,” said Nobuyuki Ota, 43, who is involved in the management of the sites.

The Kobe Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Hyogo Prefecture, western Japan, tied up with a local television station to boost its outreach through the station’s website for supporting local businesses.

The Shiojiri Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Nagano Prefecture, central Japan, is helping businesses by linking those looking to employ people with prospective hires. It has introduced employees at a hotel that suspended operations to a farmer lacking farmhands, as foreign technical interns have been unable to come to Japan.


The chamber has been receiving inquiries from many people, including students.

 At the Sendai Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan, a crowdfunding initiative launched by young members to support local eateries raised some 25 million yen in roughly three weeks from late March. The money collected greatly exceeded the project’s initial goal of 5 million yen.

Many of the people pitching in to the crowdfunding initiative were residents of Miyagi or originally from the prefecture.

The Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry plans to roll out such financial support measures nationwide.

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