Second Stakeholder Dialogue:
For the Management of the Sakura Plant as a Site Meeting the Expectations of the Local Community as a Corporate Citizen
For 50 years since its opening in 1965, the Sakura Plant has been achieving steady growth thanks to the kind understanding and support of local residents. In the hope that the plant will achieve further growth hand in hand with locals over the next 50 years and longer, we held a dialogue meeting with representatives of local stakeholders to directly listen to their opinions and recommendations, which will also contribute to the better management of the Fujikura Group as a whole.
- Date: 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Wednesday, October 30, 2013
- Place: Conference room of the Sakura Plant of Fujikura Ltd.
1. Welcome speech and solicitation for recommendations
2. Introduction of the Sakura Plant and the research laboratories
3. Dialogue meeting, with Ms. Murakami serving as facilitator
4. Summary of the meeting and a closing speech
Mr. Kazuo Warabi (Mayor of Sakura City)
Ms. Kiyoko Harada (President of the Nego Kakuei housing complex residents’ association)
Mr. Tsugikatsu Nakamura (Head of Chiba Prefectural Sakura-Minami Senior High School)
Mr. Shigeo Udagawa (Director of the Sakura first industrial area liaison council, director and plant manager of Shonan Sekisui Kogyo Co., Ltd.)
Mr. Hisashi Endo (Chairman of the Sakura third industrial area liaison council and director in charge of general affairs, TOTO Bath Create Ltd.)
Ms. Tomomi Murakami (Chief Consultant, Environmental Energy Department II, Mizuho Information & Research Institute)
*Ms. Murakami kindly served as facilitator of the dialogue meeting.
Takamasa Kato (Executive Vice President & Representative Director)
Shonosuke Yaguchi (General Manager of the Sakura Plant)
Matsuzo Soma (Sectional manager in charge of general affairs, Sakura Plant)
Susumu Wakimoto (Sectional manager in charge of environment and safety, Sakura Plant)
Kenji Nishide (Head of the Optics and Electronics Laboratory)
Nobuo Tanabe (Head of the Environment and Energy Laboratory)
Hiroyuki Miyata (Manager of the Quality and Environmental Management Department)
*The business titles of participants are as of the meeting day.
Outline of the Sakura Plant
Name: Sakura Plant, Fujikura Ltd.
Address: 1440, Mutsuzaki, Sakura-shi, Chiba 285-8550, Japan
Number of employees: 1,500
Product items: Optical fiber preform, optical fiber wires, optical fiber cables, optical fiber devices and components, optical fiber fusion splicers, and others
Participation in the Improvement of the Local Community in Close Cooperation with the Municipal Government
●Murakami (meeting facilitator)
The tour of the Sakura Plant has made me recognize that Fujikura has great technologies and R&D abilities as a company engaged in the business of supporting the modern society’s infrastructures. I have also learned that the plant has been cooperating with local communities for about 50 years since its founding in 1965, and that the research functions of the company began to be concentrated in the plant in 2006. Participants in this dialogue meeting are important stakeholders, who cooperate with the plant in various aspects. In the meeting, I would like to listen to your opinions and recommendations and expect Fujikura to make examinations in response to the comments. I hope that the meeting will be of use to all of you and the local community. First of all, I will ask Mayor Warabi of Sakura City to make a speech in his capacity as the head of the municipal government supporting local communities in the city.
The Sakura City government is aiming to help citizens lead fulfilling and vigorous lives in a city that features wonderful history, nature and culture. The government is addressing six themes in line with its basic policies on the improvement of local communities in the city, and we want to foster three of the themes in cooperation with local companies. The first of the three is to make local communities more comfortable and safer. We want to establish a disaster prevention and mitigation system against possible mega-quakes through close cooperation between the government, citizens and local companies. The second theme is to develop spiritually rich human resources and communities. We want to help the local young people who we expect to lead the future of Sakura City, Japan and also the world, to broaden their views on a global scale and become more interested in science and technology. To this end, I would like to ask Fujikura to provide information about its international businesses and the global cutting-edge trends of dynamic science and technology through various opportunities. The third theme is to foster the development of local communities for the future, and for this we attribute importance to the promotion of local industries, which will in turn help maintain and foster the vigor of civil activities. I therefore would like to ask local companies to create and grow new industries through new businesses and products, thereby expanding the employment of local citizens.
The Sakura Plant is sequentially developing highly functional optical fiber and superconductive wire materials as well as new technologies for solar power generation and direct methanol fuel cells. I believe these products and technologies give dreams and ambitions to the youth and also contribute to the future development of Japan’s economy. On the other hand, the Sakura City government has created a worst disaster scenario as part of its disaster control effort and is facing the problem of how to ensure the nighttime supply of electricity in case of disasters. Electricity cannot be supplied by solar power generation at night, and we are examining the possibility of using storage batteries, which have been mentioned today. In our plan to reconstruct the Shizu public hall as a complex, we have included the use of solar and geothermal power generation for air conditioning. Today in the plant I observed the heat pipes for geothermal applications, which could be used in the complex to be constructed in Shizu. The plant tour was thus quite meaningful. Finally I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Fujikura for long contributing to the Sakura City industrial area by chairing the area’s liaison council. I hope that Fujikura will continue to support our city from various aspects.
Thank you very much for giving such a high evaluation of our new technologies and local community activities. We would like to continue implementing measures proactively to meet your expectations.
Dispatch of Information Needed by Local Inhabitants
Today we made a tour of the plant, which is adjacent to a residential area including apartment houses. Now I would like to ask Ms. Harada to give her opinions as the representative of the plant’s neighbors.
For me, living in the housing complex, the plant was just a base of Fujikura surrounded by greenery and I did not have any other impressions about the plant or Fujikura. But today, making a tour of the plant, I was deeply impressed by the extraordinary things I saw in the plant. Our residents’ association has made some requests to the plant, one of which was to cut trees on its premises so that houses located near the green zone could receive more sunshine. In response, Fujikura made a road and cut trees. Subsequently, to some citizens’ request to cut more trees, the company responded by saying, “We are very sorry but we cannot do so because we have to comply with the Urban Green Space Conservation Act.” Fujikura thus made a polite response even to the almost impossible request from some members of the residents’ association, for which I feel so grateful. I also thank the plant for beginning the reinforcement work against the risk of landslides being caused by heavy rains in and around the premises. Moreover, local people, including children, look forward to participating in the local festivals held by the support of the plant and in the Fujikura fireworks festival.
Today in this meeting, I would like to ask the plant to share more information with us in preparation against disasters. There must be a range of chemicals at the plant, and hydrogen, even liquid hydrogen might cause serious damage on impact. We want not only Fujikura but also all local companies to inform us of such risks in advance. In the plant tour, I found nothing surprisingly dangerous to my knowledge among the materials used at the plant, but I think it necessary for us local citizens to know what materials are used at the plant as a means to control disasters.
What you have suggested concerns all companies located in the industrial area. I would like to make examinations about the issue with other companies later.
Fostering Exchanges and Open Access to the Facilities for Educational Purposes
I hear that the plant welcomes about 2,000 visitors every year, including many from schools. Today the mayor also referred to the development of next-generation human resources. Now I would like to ask Mr. Nakamura, head of Sakura-Minami Senior High School to give his opinions on behalf of local educators.
The high school was opened in 1983 and celebrates its 31st anniversary this year. We have had 9,500 graduates and 32 of them joined Fujikura. Also this year, one of our students has already received an informal job offer from the company, for which I feel very grateful. Fujikura proactively gives open access to its facilities and since 1992 the Japanese archery club of our school has been using the plant’s archery facility located on the premises. Thanks to this cooperation, the club performed well at the inter-high school sports competition held in Chiba in June, and also in the citizens’ sports competition held in Sakura City. One of the club members became an all-round champion in the Japanese archery event.
The high school is located near here, but I did not know much about this area. Today in the bus plant tour I was impressed by the spaciousness of the premises and the world’s leading technologies possessed by Fujikura, such as those for optical fibers and optical fiber fusion splicers. It is amazing that here in this plant research into the world’s leading-edge technologies, including superconductive materials is carried out. Because our school is in the neighborhood of the plant, I sincerely hope that plant members will give special lessons at our school to help students broaden their views and increase motivation for their studies.
We are very glad at the success of your Japanese archery club. We would like to continue to support the club by giving members open access to our archery facility. As for the dispatch of information to the local community, we deem it as one of the important themes for our CSR activities and would like to foster it in cooperation with the related in-house departments.
Measures Implemented in Cooperation with Other Local Companies for Safety and Security
I hear that the Sakura Plant has been contributing greatly to the development of local companies and solving local problems by chairing and serving as the secretariat of the industry area’s liaison council. In this dialogue meeting, I would like to ask Mr. Udagawa of Shonan Sekisui and Mr. Endo of TOTO Bath Create to speak from similar standing points as Fujikura’s.
We have been cooperating with Fujikura as a member of the first industrial area’s liaison council. The council has 61 members, and these companies deal with different products and businesses. As companies located in the same area, however, all the members have been cooperating together to respond to local environmental and social issues. In particular, Fujikura has been leading a range of activities conducted in the industrial area, including the volunteer cleanup activity, and chairing and serving as the secretariat of the liaison council for a long time. I feel very grateful for this, and hope that Fujikura will continue to serve as the facilitator of the council activities despite the difficulties of this task.
Our company chairs the Sakura third industrial area’s liaison council. In the third industrial area there are slightly more than 70 companies, of which more than 40 are participating in the liaison council. We have been conducting the council activities for three years, modeling them after the activities conducted by the liaison council of the Sakura first industrial area. As for disaster prevention, which was referred to several times today, our liaison council is making preparations against possible mega-quakes, and the other day, members of the liaison council, including myself, had an opportunity to learn about the disaster prevention/control measures implemented by Sakura City. It is difficult for individual companies to respond to the risks of mega-quakes alone, but it would be quite effective if all companies in the industrial area cooperate together against such risks. We at the council will regularly conduct activities while receiving support from the local government, including the city mayor, to make preparations against serious disasters. We will foster cooperation between local companies and contribute to the industrial growth of Sakura City.
For the council’s anti-large disaster activities, cooperation with Sakura City and local inhabitants is quite important. We would like to cooperate with all those related for the development of the local community.
Today’s meeting has shown a range of possibilities for the Sakura Plant and local people to collaborate and cooperate together for the betterment of the local community. This is the second dialogue meeting held by Fujikura, and I think it is wonderful for the company to solicit opinions from various stakeholders through the event. It is essential for Fujikura to incorporate the opinions received at the meeting in its policies to fulfill its roles and responsibilities, and take actions in lines with the policies thus decided. I hope that this meeting will lead to the creation of better relationships between the Sakura Plant and its neighbors, and we hope for the medium- to long-term development of Fujikura and the Sakura Plant.
Looking Back on the Dialogue Meeting
I would like to thank all participants in the meeting for spending their precious time to give their opinions in their respective capacities about the future management of the Sakura Plant, which indeed made the meeting quite meaningful. For the Fujikura Group, the Sakura Plant is very significant as a manufacturing base and an advanced R&D base. Thinking about the future direction of the plant is therefore critical not only for the plant itself but also for the management of the entire Fujikura Group. Regarding some of our activities, we have received unexpectedly high evaluations from participants in the dialogue today, and we would like to make further efforts not to betray their expectations. For the issues pointed out by the participants, we will address them individually and seriously, including those that might necessitate us to review our whole activity system. We are determined to take each of the issues seriously and respond to them in a proactive manner.
Executive Vice President & Representative Director
For the Sakura Plant’s Next 50 Years
Outline of the Sakura Plant
General Manager of the Sakura Plant
The Sakura Plant started operation on a hill in greenery-rich Sakura City, Chiba Prefecture in January 1965, as a plant equipped with the world’s state-of-the art equipment for the manufacturing of telecommunications cables. For metal telecommunications cables, the plant developed the world’s first manufacturing equipment for SZ twisted cables. For optical fibers, which have brought about today’s highly information-oriented society, the plant developed the world’s first long-wavelength ultralow-loss optical fibers jointly with Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Corporation in 1976. Moreover, in 1979, the plant achieved the world’s highest record (0.27 dB/km) for ultralow-loss optical fibers, thereby dramatically accelerating their commercialization. Also for optical fiber fusion splicers, which are indispensable for building a telecommunications network using optical fibers, the plant became the world’s first to develop a core alignment optical fiber fusion splicer in 1985 and accelerated the commercialization of the product. The Sakura Plant has thus been a global leader with its future-oriented advanced technologies and products since its foundation. Further, the plant broke the record for zero labor accidents in 1994, obtained ISO 9001 certification for the quality management system in 1996, and acquired ISO 14001 certification for the environmental management system in 1998. Delivering excellent products to customers across countries, the plant is leading the world in terms of technologies and also in safety-, quality- and environment-related initiatives, thereby contributing to the development of Japan and other countries/regions in the world. The plant will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its foundation in 2015.
Photo taken when the plant was opened
Photo of the present plant
Activities for the Regional Environment
The Sakura Plant has been striving to preserve the regional environment since it was founded in 1965. In 1998, the plant obtained ISO 14001 certification ahead of others in the industry. Also, under the slogan of passing down the beautiful planet to future generations, we have been fostering the prevention of global warming, reduction of waste, non-use of halogen in wire coating materials, non-use of lead in the soldering of electronic parts, the appropriate management of chemicals, and green procurement. In recognition of these efforts made over long years, two members of the plant received commendation as contributors to the creation of a recycling-oriented society from the Chiba prefectural government in February 2014.
Anti-Global Warming Measures
In order to reduce the use of energy for air conditioning in summer, the plant has coated the roof of the building with heat insulator and introduced a “green curtain.” Also members of the plant are optimizing the air conditioner settings, switching off unnecessary lights, introducing energy-saving machines for energy conservation, and fostering so-called cool biz and warm biz in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment.
We at the plant are sorting waste for recycling, aiming to eventually reduce the rate of waste sent to landfills, such as wasted plastics, to zero.
Protection of the Global Environment
The plant concluded a greening agreement with Sakura City, Chiba Prefecture and meets the green belt criteria, while also trimming trees, removing weeds and mowing the lawn to improve the green belt environment. In addition we are implementing measures to prevent landslides, which might be caused by heavy rains, in and around the plant.
The Sakura Plant is launching activities for living animals based on the Fujikura Group Global Environment Charter and the guidelines on biodiversity conservation.
Harmony with the Local Community
The Sakura Plant is participating in a range of local activities as a corporate citizen, thereby supporting the development of the local community and fostering its harmony with the community. The following shows the major activities:
Support for local culture
The plant participates in the industrial festival held by Sakura City and displays its optical fibers, heat pipes, and superconductive materials with technical explanations on the products during the festival.
Participation in Sakura City’s industrial festival
Activities to contribute to and revitalize the local community
The plant chairs and serves as the secretariat of the industrial area’s liaison council, and fosters local cleanup activities and the exchange of opinions between council members, the city government, and the local chamber of commerce and industry.
Participation in a cleanup activity held by the liaison council
The plant gives local inhabitants open access to its gymnasium, playground, pool, archery facility, and others.
Support for the education of the youth
The plant participates in the science classes held by the Sakura City education board to provide local children with fun scientific experiences. In the classes, the plant shows its optical fibers, heat pipes and others to participating children and lets them conduct some experiments. Moreover the plant accepts visitors and the annual number of visitors totals about 300 groups. It also accepts visits from about 50 schools per year.
Participation in a fun science class held for children
Summary of the recommendation made at the meeting
[Comments from the local government]
- We expect the plant to contribute to the establishment of a disaster prevention and mitigation system through close cooperation with the local government, citizens and other companies.
- For children, who will be leaders in the future, we would also ask the plant to provide information about its global businesses and the development of the world’s most advanced technologies.
- In addition, we hope that the plant will provide citizens with more employment opportunities by creating and growing new industries through the development of new businesses and products.
[Comment from the local residents’ association]
- The plant needs to coherently inform local inhabitants of the damage that might be caused to the plant and surrounding areas by large disasters.
[Comments from local schools]
- The plant is expected to provide information to help children broaden their views and increase their motivation for studies.
- The plant is asked to give open access to its facilities, such as the archery facility to local people on a continual basis.
[Comments from companies located in the same industrial area]
- We want the plant to continue to serve as facilitator for the liaison council.
- We would like to cooperate with the plant to build a system to prepare against natural disasters across the area, receiving support from the local government.