A visit to Tokyo, a look into the future

Tsunami-impacted third graders explore food technology and business at Cargill

By Mike Nebel July 18, 2016

March 11, 2011, was a devastating day for Japan. A 9.0 magnitude earthquake – the largest ever to strike the country – shook northeastern Japan, causing a massively damaging tsunami. The Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, in the Tohoku region of northern Japan, was among the most severely affected.

At that time, Cargill employees took immediate action, donating $800,000 in relief efforts, and food and supplies, to those most in need. Almost six years later, the tragic aftermath can still be seen in Ishinomaki – and so can Cargill’s presence.

inpage-japan-studentsStudents had fun participating in food science demonstrations of how Cargill develops new texturizing products and how cocoa is turned into chocolate. They also talked to people around the world using Skype™ technology.Since the tsunami struck the area, Cargill has been financially supporting students at a local school, Minato Junior High. Minato takes its third graders on an annual 250-mile trip to Tokyo, providing kids with one of the few opportunities they may have to experience the world outside of home.

Usually, the students visit educational institutions or sight-seeing attractions. This year, Cargill was honored that the students wanted to visit the company’s Tokyo office. The company’s goal in hosting the kids was to introduce them to the food industry and share some of the things Cargill does to help nourish the world.

Students had fun participating in food science demonstrations of how Cargill develops new texturizing products and how cocoa is turned into chocolate. They also talked to people around the world using Skype™ technology and learned about behavioral economics.

“We wanted students to have an interest in food technology; we wanted to broaden their knowledge by learning the future of the world,” said Cargill’s Yoshie Kamimura, lead volunteer for the visit. Moving forward, the Cargill Cares team hopes to host students annually at the Tokyo office.

Many people are still suffering from the after-effects of the tsunami. According to Mr. Karino, the principal of Minato Junior High, students and graduates are the key generation that will redevelop the area. He hopes their experience at Cargill will affect them positively when they make important decisions in the future.