Supporting Creation of “Forests That Protect Lives”

Tokyo - The YOKOHAMA Rubber Co., Ltd., announced today that in support of a plan to create “Forests That Protect Lives” set by Otsuchi-cho, Kamihei-gun, Iwate Prefecture as part of its recovery program, the company will implement tree planting for a model forest on 30th April 2012. This is a part of its activities to support the recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Aiming at making efficient use of disaster debris, for the tree planting, woody debris, earth and sand and non-combustible earthy debris such as concrete pieces from the disaster will be used to build mounds on which the trees will be planted. Use of disaster debris will not only help reduce the cost of its disposal and CO2 emissions from incineration, but will actually facilitate the growth of the seedlings. Otsuchi Mayor Yutaka Ikarigawa and others from the town administration, local residents and representatives from supporting companies are expected to participate in the event on 30th April 2012. YOKOHAMA’s Chairman and CEO Tadanobu Nagumo and President Hikomitsu Noji will be present as well, and YOKOHAMA employees, all volunteers, will guide participants in planting about 3,000 broad-leaved evergreen seedlings indigenous to the local area.

Otsuchi-cho suffered massive damage from the earthquake and tsunami, 802 people were killed and 479 are missing (as of 31st January  2012). Its vision now is to reconstruct itself as “our beautiful town, looking out on the sea, inspiring people to take a walk.” To this end, it is eagerly pursuing the concept of creating “Forests That Protect Lives” – forests both strong against tsunami and with abundant greenery for recreation and relaxation. YOKOHAMA will carry out tree planting for a model forest – the first case – endeavouring to reflect tsunami lessons in future tsunami-protection measures.

The YOKOHAMA Rubber Group, largely on the initiative of its employees, has been carrying out the YOKOHAMA Forever Forest Project since 2007 under the guidance of Dr. Akira Miyawaki, plant ecologist and professor emeritus of YOKOHAMA National University. Conceived by Dr. Miyawaki, "Forests That Protect Lives” is an effort to create “genuine” or “native” forests that will withstand tsunami along the 300-kilometer Pacific coast in the Tohoku region. Comprising broad-leaved evergreen trees indigenous to the local area, such native forests are able to absorb much of a tsunami’s energy and reduce the damage it causes. Plans include making effective use of disaster debris in mounds created for planting.