Iwate Co-op operates mobile sales for disaster victims


Iwate Co-op has been operating mobile sales vehicles “Niko-chan” since 2012. The purpose is to provide shopping support for victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Post-Disaster Public Housing etc. are the main sales locations. In 2012, the first operation started in the Miyako area, and currently there are 4 mobile sales vehicles operating in 67 places in Iwate Prefecture at a rate of 2-3 times a week. In 2018, a total of 66,000 people used the service.

In Iwate Prefecture, post-disaster public housings are being built and temporary housings are being removed. Alongside with this, the touring courses of the sales vehicles are also reviewed several times. On July 1, 2019, the course was changed to coincide with the completion of the last post-disaster public housing in Rikuzentakata City.

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The photo above shows the new sales location at the public housing. Since Iwate co-op members living the neighborhood had informed the residents in advance, they gathered before arrival. The services of Japanese consumer co-ops are basically available only to their members, but these mobile sales are intended for supporting disaster victims and can as well be used by non-co-op members.

Eight years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake, and the victims are aging. Many users of this service are elderly. Services such as handing shopping bags to shoppers after getting off the step of the vehicle and carrying bags to the entrance are also appreciated. The sales locations are serving as a community place where residents can meet and chat with each other.

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This service was realized based on donations from Iwate Co-op members and co-ops nationwide.

tags: disaster reconstruction, disaster relief, Iwate Co-op, support for elderly