The Impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Response by the Ajinomoto Group

The Ajinomoto Group wishes to express its condolences to those affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. The group hopes for the swift recovery of affected regions and pledges its full support toward assistance and revitalization.


  • Damage Sustained by the Ajinomoto Group

    (Last update: May 31, 2011)

  • Supplying Electricity to TEPCO

    (Last update: June 15, 2011)

  • Support for Victims in Disaster Areas

    (Last update: June 15, 2011)

  • Review of Business Contingency Plans

    (Last update: June 15, 2011)

Damage Sustained by the Ajinomoto Group

1. Safety of employees and their families

The safety of all group employees in the disaster-affected areas was confirmed. Unfortunately, however, some relatives and family members of employees were missing or lost as a result of the earthquake and tsunamis.

2. Damage to production facilities

  • Kawasaki Plant, Ajinomoto Co., Inc. Kawasaki Administration & Coordination Office (Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture):
    Production facilities sustained only minor damage. However, production and shipments were delayed owing to damage incurred to an automated warehouse at the Kawasaki Distribution Center, which stores and ships major retail products, as well as raw materials and ingredients for restaurants and food processing companies. As a result, supply problems were experienced by a large number of purchasers across the country. With the resumption of operations at the center in the latter half of May, products are being supplied stably.
  • Fukushima Plant, AJINOMOTO PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. (Shirakawa City, Fukushima Prefecture):
    Located in an area affected by the disaster, the plant sustained partial damage, with shelves collapsing inside its warehouse. Amid concerns that production may not be able to resume, the company committed itself to carrying out repairs. As a result, production of the plant's product, ELENTAL®, resumed on April 1.

3. Damage to distribution facilities

  • Kawasaki Distribution Center, Ajinomoto Co., Inc. Kawasaki Administration & Coordination Office (Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture):
    The automated warehouse sustained damage that caused stacks of products to collapse. Consequently, products and raw materials could not be loaded for storage or delivery, resulting in problems extending across numerous operations. The company immediately responded by setting up storage tents and utilizing other warehouses as it worked to repair the facility. Restoration was completed in the latter half of May and normal deliveries have resumed.
  • Sendai Distribution Center, AJINOMOTO LOGISTICS CORPORATION (Iwanuma, Miyagi Prefecture):
    The center was severely damaged by tsunamis. In response, distribution facilities in the greater Tokyo region began making deliveries from March 22 to six prefectures in Japan's northeastern Tohoku region normally handled by the center. Repairs were undertaken and partial operations commenced in May. Operations have been progressively restored, and the center is now almost fully functioning as normal.

Supplying Electricity to TEPCO

The Kawasaki Administration & Coordination Office generates its own power and has covered 100% of its energy needs since 2007 by utilizing city gas to generate electricity in-house. When the prospects of power shortages in areas serviced by Tokyo Electric Power Company, Incorporated (TEPCO) became a serious issue following the earthquake, Ajinomoto Co., Inc. offered to provide surplus electricity from the site from 8:00 p.m., March 11, the day the earthquake occurred. Employees have since been making diligent efforts to conserve power, such as turning off air conditioning, enabling the site to provide about 14,000 kilowatts daily, equivalent to approximately half of its electricity production capacity.

Support for Victims in Disaster Areas

Immediately following the earthquake, the Ajinomoto Group provided emergency assistance through the following donations:

Monetary donations

  • A total of 200 million yen was donated to Japan Platform, an international aid organization, by Ajinomoto Co., Inc., Ajinomoto Frozen Foods Co., Inc., Calpis Co., Ltd., and Ajinomoto General Foods, Inc.

Donations from employees

The company and the labor union cooperated to collect donations from employees up until May 31, 2011. The donations were used to assist the Ajinomoto Group employees who had been affected by the disaster, as well to cover expenses for various aid activities in disaster areas.

Donations of relief supplies

  Product name Company donating the product Number of products
1 Ajinomoto KK Okayu Ajinomoto Co., Inc. 5,000 packages
2 Knorr® Cup Soup Ajinomoto Co., Inc. 100,000 boxes
3 amino VITAL® Jelly Ajinomoto Co., Inc. 150,000 containers
4 500ml PET bottles of CALPIS Water® Calpis Co., Ltd. 192,000 bottles
5 500ml PET bottles of amino VITAL® Body Refresh Calpis Co., Ltd. 48,000 bottles
6 900ml PET bottles of Blendy bottled coffee Ajinomoto General Foods, Inc. 8,600 bottles
7 Two-cup packages of instant MAXIM Cafe Menu Cafe Latte Ajinomoto General Foods, Inc. 11,500 packages
8 1,800ml PET bottles of YAMAKI Mentsuyu sauce YAMAKI Co., Ltd. 6,000 bottles
9 10-serving packages of YAMAKI Aji ichiban Katsuo pack dried bonito shavings YAMAKI Co., Ltd. 4,000 packages
10 5-serving packages of YAMAKI Aji ichiban Katsuo pack dried bonito shavings YAMAKI Co., Ltd. 9,000 packages
11 1kg bags of Chopped Onions GABAN Co., Ltd. 4,000 bags
12 1kg bags of Chopped Potatoes GABAN Co., Ltd. 5,000 bags
13 120g containers of Wild Blueberries GABAN Co., Ltd. 864 containers
14 500g containers of Wild Blueberries GABAN Co., Ltd. 2,000 containers
15 145g packages of Pepper Salt GABAN Co., Ltd. 480 packages
16 Assorted Jino® skin care products Ajinomoto Co., Inc. 600 packages
17 4.5g sticks of amino VITAL® Pro Ajinomoto Co., Inc. 144,000 sticks
18 300g packages of umami seasoning AJI-NO-MOTO® Ajinomoto Co., Inc. 120 packages
19 1kg packages of HONDASHI® soup stock Ajinomoto Co., Inc. 30 packages
20 15kg boxes of Knorr® Beef Consommé Ajinomoto Co., Inc. 15 boxes
21 50g packages of Ajinomoto KK Chuka Aji seasoning Ajinomoto Co., Inc. 1,200 packages
22 1kg bags of Seto no Honjio salt Ajinomoto Co., Inc. 40 bags
23 Pure Select Mayonnaise Ajinomoto Co., Inc. 150 bottles
24 GABAN® Spice Dressing Ajinomoto Co., Inc. 120 bottles
25 25g packages of Healsh Fiber Ajinomoto Co., Inc. 4,560 packages

Support for employee volunteer activities

Ajinomoto Co., Inc. allows employees to take time off to support disaster-relief volunteer activities. At present, 13 employees have taken a total of 26 days off to engage in such activities. In addition, a large number of employees have independently become involved in disaster area support efforts without taking time off work.

Recognizing that people are keen to offer help, a range of volunteer activities that could be undertaken with or without traveling to the disaster areas was initiated at the suggestion of employees.

Employee volunteer activities

  • Information and support provided to volunteers going to disaster-affected areas.
  • Employees prepared meals for evacuees at the AJINOMOTO STADIUM, which was provided as an emergency shelter.
  • Employees prepared the group's product assortments for evacuees moving to temporary housing, and created messages of support.
  • Employees prepared meals at evacuation shelters in Miyagi Prefecture.
  • Employees assisted cafeterias at the head office of Ajinomoto Co., Inc. and the Kawasaki Administration & Coordination Office, serving meals using ingredients from the disaster-affected areas to help support farmers in those areas.

Measures to provide future support for disaster-affected areas

In consideration of the Great East Japan Earthquake's impact, Ajinomoto Co., Inc. has initiated the following three sets of priority measures to carry out vital tasks it has designated, in addition to initiatives under the Medium-Term Management Plan that commenced in April 2011. Group companies are examining and implementing the measures going forward.

  • Ⅰ. Support to improve the nutrition of evacuees in areas affected by the disaster
  • Ⅱ. Smart Energy measures based on an appropriate and intelligent use of electric power
  • Ⅲ. Improvements to the supply chain to address wide-ranging risks and ensure a stable product supply in Japan

Overview of measures taken in the aftermath of the earthquake

Ⅰ. Support to improve the nutrition of evacuees in areas affected by the disaster (ongoing for three years)

1. Employee assigned as local support manager

  • From August 2011, an employee has been dispatched to the disaster-affected areas to serve as liaison between the group and local governments, NPOs, NGOs, dietetic associations, and other organizations, in an effort to create a collaborative framework for addressing local needs.

2. Provision of information to promote healthy and nutritionally balanced diets

  • The group is working with local dietetic associations to distribute food recipes and conduct health and nutrition seminars at temporary housing facilities.

3. Donation of food products to assist people with cooking as they return to their normal lives

  • 52,000 boxes of the group's product assortments are being donated to people leaving shelters and starting anew in temporary housing in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures.

4. Provision of support to employee participating in volunteer activities

  • The group provided support to employees who volunteered to help cook meals at emergency shelters and prepare the abovementioned boxes of product assortments for donation.

Ⅱ. Implementation of Smart Energy measures based on an appropriate and intelligent use of electric power

1. Various operations and procedures revised at Ajinomoto Co., Inc.

Employees were given additional holidays in August and encouraged to combine them with paid vacation days to take an extended vacation of six to nine days.
Working hours were moved one hour earlier to 7:45 a.m. to 4:20 p.m. from July 1 to September 30 in order to reduce the use of air conditioning.
The government-led "Cool Biz" campaign to encourage employees to wear lighter clothing in summer was adopted earlier than usual from April 25 until September 30.
Using fewer lights, partially shutting down elevators, and other measures were implemented to reduce power consumption.

2. Shifts moved to weekends and evenings and in-house power generation equipment installed at production plants

Production plants have been working to reduce power consumption while maintaining a steady output of products. In particular, 27 production plants in the service areas of TEPCO and Tohoku Electric Power Co., Inc., have taken measures to reduce electricity consumption by 15% during peak service hours on weekdays. They include moving work shifts to evenings and weekends, and installing in-house power generation equipment.

Weekend work shift system implemented at 8 production plants
  • Ajinomoto Frozen Foods Co., Inc. (Gunma Prefecture)
  • Knorr Foods Co., Ltd. (Kanagawa Prefecture)
  • J-OIL MILLS, INC. (Chiba Prefecture)
  • FREC DESSERT CO., LTD. (Saitama Prefecture)
  • Calpis Co., Ltd. (Gunma Prefecture)
  • Ajinomoto Packaging Co., Inc. (Kanagawa Prefecture)
  • Komec Co., Ltd. (Chiba Prefecture)
  • YAMAKI Co., Ltd. (Gunma Prefecture)
Evening work shift system implemented at 12 production plants
  • Ajinomoto Frozen Foods Co., Inc. (Gunma Prefecture)
  • Knorr Foods Co., Ltd. (Kanagawa Prefecture)
  • Ajinomoto Fine-Techno Co., Inc. (Kanagawa and Gunma prefectures)
  • GABAN Co., Ltd. (Tochigi Prefecture)
  • Komec Co., Ltd. (Chiba Prefecture)
  • Calpis Co., Ltd. (Gunma Prefecture)
  • Ajinomoto Packaging Co., Inc. (Kanagawa Prefecture)
  • J-OIL MILLS, INC. (Chiba Prefecture)
  • YAMAKI Co., Ltd. (Gunma Prefecture)
  • FREC DESSERT CO., LTD. (Saitama and Tochigi prefectures)
Production partially moved from 3 production plants to plants in other regions
  • Ajinomoto Frozen Foods Co., Inc.: Some production moved from Gunma to Chubu Plant in Gifu Prefecture
  • Calpis Co., Ltd.: Some production moved from Gunma to Okayama Plant in Okayama Prefecture
  • Knorr Foods Co., Ltd.: Some production moved from Kanagawa to Chubu Plant in Mie Prefecture
Newly installed in-house power generation equipment at 2 production plants and equipment already installed at 5 plants
  • Ajinomoto Co., Inc. (Kanagawa Prefecture)
  • Kawaken Fine Chemicals Co., Ltd. (Saitama Prefecture): Installed equipment in May 2011
  • Calpis Co., Ltd. (Gunma Prefecture)
  • J-OIL MILLS, INC. (Kanagawa and Chiba prefectures)
  • AGF Kanto, Inc. (Gunma Prefecture): Installed equipment in August 2011
Ajinomoto Co., Inc. Kawasaki Administration & Coordination Office is currently supplying power to TEPCO. Power generation equipment is operated to maintain an electricity supply of 14,000kW,1 which is equivalent to cover 33,000 households during the summer peak period compared to 11,000kW in the same period last year.

1. This amount is equivalent to approximately 50% of the plant's capacity during normal hours and 40% during the mid-summer peak period.

Review of Business Continuity Plans

1. Modification of basic management approach

In addition to its prior emphasis on focused and efficient operations, the Ajinomoto Group is working to decentralize operations and enable more flexible management systems to ensure a stable product supply.

2. Measures to improve the supply chain for supplying products in Japan

  • Procurement of main raw materials: To secure supplement systems for main raw materials, the group will facilitate sharing the same ingredients across numerous product formulas, simplifying product formulas, and developing substitute ingredients.
  • Production: To maintain a stable supply of products in times of emergency, the group is developing a flexible and decentralized production system, whereby plants can fill in for each other, and formulating plans to ensure the availability of necessary personnel.
  • Distribution: To reduce risks related to distribution, the group is moving inventory from central distribution centers to local centers, establishing multiple distribution routes, and designing flexible information systems.

3. Strengthened risk management

Information is being provided to the Osaka Branch of Ajinomoto Co., Inc. to enable it to take over the responsibilities of headquarters if necessary.