JAPAN Forward, Yukihiro Watanabe

A series of floods and mudslides caused by torrential rains devastated extensive areas of western Japan in July. Among the victims was popular sake maker Asahi Shuzo Co., Ltd.

Asahi Shuzo’s brewing facilities in Yamaguchi Prefecture suffered heavy damage during the extreme weather. There was flooding above floor level, and severed power lines caused a three-day facility-wide power outage.

All bottles of sake which were affected by floodwaters and smeared with mud were entirely scrapped. Asahi Shuzo officials then investigated the quality of sake in the firm’s 150 brewing tanks—amounting to a total of 500,000 liters of sake—to determine the extent to which the floods affected their contents.

They concluded that the sake in the tanks was unpolluted from the flooding and sufficiently tasty. Still, they did not want to distribute them under Dassai, which has been valued as a high-quality brand at home and abroad.

Company officials said the brewery decided instead to market the product under a different brand name: Dassai Shima Kosaku. A special release of 700,000 bottles will start on Friday, August 10, to help the recovery of the disaster-stricken region.

© JAPAN Forward / Kosaku Shima manga artist Kenshi Hirokane [Ctr.], Asahi Shuzo Pres. Hirokazu Sakurai [L], Chmn. Hiroshi Sakurai [R]

Here is a disaster-hit company showing its spirit and throwing its full support behind recovery efforts for the disaster-plagued areas.

Dassai’s enormous gesture of community support, while it is facing a challenging task itself, has touched the hearts of many.

By - Ben K.