Menicon Co., Ltd., Japan's leading contact lens manufacturer, recently donated 3 million yen plus staff volunteer time to the revitalization of three soccer pitches in the Tohoku region, as part of an ongoing effort to assist communities stricken by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters of March 11, 2011.
The latest donation involved the construction of new fan bleachers and restoration of grass playing surfaces at football fields in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, selected with help from the Japan Football Association. In addition to funding the initiative, Menicon staff traveled north from the company's base in Nagoya to pitch in with the installation of sod and seats.
"This revitalization of our soccer ground is an important symbol of our town's recovery from the disaster," said Hidekiyo Tachiya, mayor of Soma City, one of the recipient communities. "We are deeply grateful to Menicon for their support."
Why is Menicon focusing on soccer? One high priority in revitalization efforts is to support youth culture in the quake-stricken area in order to stem population decline. What's more, soccer is as much about seeing as running - it's about keeping all eyes on the ball. And since Menicon is all about vision, soccer is a sport the company has supported since 1995 as a sponsor of the East-West Match for Japan's Under-15 Youth Club Soccer, in which teams play for the Menicon Cup.
Funds donated by Menicon were augmented by donations from 2013 Menicon Cup spectators and opera buffs attending the 60th anniversary of Ashita no Hitomi (Vision for Tomorrow), a Menicon-sponsored opera extravaganza in Tokyo. Menicon is dedicated to providing ongoing support for communities affected by the 3/11 disaster in the years ahead.