AKEBONO REPORT 2013
Test Course Restored and Renamed “Ai-Ring”In November 2012, we completed the restoration of the testcourse in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture, which suffereddamage in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Thetest course again came into service under the new name“Ai-Ring.” “A” and “i” were taken from initials of “Akebono”and “Iwaki,” respectively, while “Ring” represents the circle ofAkebono associates worldwide aswell as the shape of the test courseand is pronounced in the Germanmanner. The reopening ceremonywas attended by the vice governor ofFukushima Prefecture and the mayorof Iwaki.n Supporting Restoration: Co-Sponsored LFA Test Driving EventSeeking to encourage young people in Fukushima to havedreams and hope for the future in the post-earthquake world,on October 20, 2012, we held a Lexus Future Advance (LFA)test driving event at Ai-Ring in tandem with Toyo System Co.,Ltd., an Iwaki-based company that organized the event, andToyota Motor Corporation.A luxury car marketed by Toyota under the Lexus brandname, the LFA boasts extremely high performance and nomore than 500 vehicles have been manufactured and madeavailable around the world. A total of 108 students from localuniversities and vocational schools were invited to the eventand displayed great interest in these luxury cars that manywere seeing for the first time. Five LFA vehicles were readiedfor the course and the students were given the chance to ridein the navigator’s seat as a professional motor sports drivertook the wheel. At the event, Akebono demonstrated its productsand technologies, such as an Anti-Lock Braking System(ABS). We also presented visual materials showing the extentof the earthquake damagethe test course suffered.The event was successful,providing young people witha fun day and good opportunitiesto learn aboutAkebono.Passing on Lessons Learned from the Disaster to the NextGenerationn A Diorama Created to Preserve the Memory of the EarthquakeAlthough the test course suffered considerable damage fromthe Great East Japan Earthquake, Akebono associates haveworked as “One Team” to restore it, achieving the re-openingof the site in November 2012. We created a diorama that replicatesthe damage as a means to preserve the memory of theearthquake and pass it to future generations.n Looking Back at the Earthquake?Remembrance Lunch MenuTwo years after the earthquake, on March 11, 2013, rice ballswere served at the cafeteria of Fukushima Manufacturing forlunch. During the period in which Fukushima Manufacturingwas struggling in the turmoil after the earthquake, the kitchenof the cafeteria was out of service due to the breakage of asewage treatment tank. Because of that, nothing but rice ballscould be served for lunch every day. During the crisis, scholarshipstudents working at Fukushima Manufacturing volunteeredto wake up earlier and prepare 350 rice balls everymorning, which they kept doing for a month until a temporarysewage treatment tank was installed.Comments of associates recalling those days:“I still remember the fear induced by a six intensity seismicshock.”“Remembering how much support we were given thosedays, I feel a renewed sense of gratitude.”“I was so panicked, but then I heard a colleague askingme if I was alright and it calmed me down a lot.”“I suppose we should gather and talk over the earthquakeat least once a year.”“I will remember the support given to me by Akebono everafter. I will, in turn, support creating ‘One Team’ toenhance the Company’s value.”2011 Graduation Ceremony for Vocational School Students Who Worked at Fukushima ManufacturingTopicsThe Ai-Ring reopening ceremonyAn LFA test carGraduation ceremony in Nihonbashi, Tokyo (April 10, 2011)Preparing rice balls while recalling those days■A Memorable Graduation Ceremony in NihonbashiFukushima Junior College suffered damage to its school buildingsin the Great East Japan Earthquake. This led to the cancellation ofthe graduation ceremony scheduled for March 17, 2011, whichwould have included some students who attended the junior collegewhile working at Fukushima Manufacturing. Instead, Akebono heldthe graduation ceremony for these students on April 10, 2011, atits Global Head Office in Tokyo, inviting their families, who werejoined by President Nobumoto and other directors. Thanks to thecooperation ofdress rental shopsand beautysalons, all of thestudents were wellcoiffed anddressed, wearingHakama, thetraditional Japanese formal clothing for such celebrations. Theevent was followed by a farewell party filled with tears and laughter.Comment from a 2011 GraduateRisa Kamekawa (Tagajo City, Miyagi Prefecture)I was so moved at the graduation ceremony, formany people from Akebono, including Mr.Nobumoto the president, were so very kind. Itwas a heartwarming event that I will never forget.I am now working at a nursery school in Tagajo City, where Igrew up, and am currently taking care of 12 one-year-old children. Ifeel that my days at Akebono, working there while studying, havemade me who I am today, providing me with great confidence. I amso thankful that Akebono helped me achieve my dream.