About us

The History of Second Harvest Japan

“Food for all people...” Turning “mottaenai” (waste) into “arigatou” (thanks).
This is a short look at how food banking began in Japan and the development of our organization.
We will continue working towards turning your cooperation into smiles on the faces of those we support.


Food banking starts in San’ya

A loose coalition of representative and community leaders in San’ya begin working together under the name Food Bank (Japanese) – Food Bank Japan (English)


Incorporate first food bank in Japan

Hold first General Meeting on March 11th for incorporation. Name Food Boat (Japanese) Food Bank Japan (English). We receive official legal status on July 25. Food banking operations begin with regular pickups at Costco in Makuhari, Chiba.


Create Professional Advisory Board (PAB)

This advisory board is comprised of financial sponsors and other expats who want to contribute to helping us grow using business principles. They provide valuable opinions and advice on business strategy, management and fundraising.

Asakusabashi, Tokyo office opens

In July 2003, we move to our current location.


Named changed to Second Harvest Japan

It was at about this time that our first delivery vehicles were donated. In 2007 we received our first refrigerated truck. Since that time the amount and variety of food products that we have the capacity to handle has increased.


We are featured on primetime national TV

On March 27, 2007, we were featured on “Gaia no Yoake.” (The Dawn of Gaya” The program was about leftover food, expiration dates and how organizations creatively make use of food instead of destroying it. Our activities were presented as the first effective attempt to create a food bank in Japan.

For more information on media appearances:
click here

First Food Advisory Board (FAB) is held

This advisory board began an opportunity for food companies to learn about food banking and for us to understand the food industry in Japan. They provide valuable insights and franks opinions on from the point of view of corporate donors.


Book about food banking is published

Etsuko Ohara published “The Challenge of Food Banks,” a book that embraced the idea of food banking while at the same time helping “food bank” become a recognized term.

For additional information about 2HJ and Food Banking,
Click here:Library


Founding of Second Harvest Asia

Charles E. McJilton founded Second Harvest Asia in Minnesota, USA for the purpose of promoting food banking in Asia.

Second Harvest Asia

Celebrate 10 years of food banking in Japan

On the 10th anniversary of the commencement of food banking in Japan, we hosted a party for the companies, welfare agencies, organizations and volunteers who supported us for the first ten years.


Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Start of Tohoku disaster relief efforts

2:46 PM, March 11, 2011 After the disaster that caused unprecedented destruction to the northeast region of Japan, we distributed hot food to stranded commuters in Tokyo. On Saturday we carried out our normal hot meal distribution in Ueno Park and on Sunday Charles McJilton and Masahiro Otake left for Tohoku. Monday we began distribution in the disaster area. For more information on our work in Tohoku support activities, click the link below.
2HJ’s Tohoku Disaster Support Activities

We take first at the PR Award Grand Prix

On December 15, 2011 we took first place in the social communications division at the PR Award Ceremony hosted by the Public Relations Society of Japan. It was the first time since the awards began in 2001 that a single NPO was the recipient.


First “Food Bank Symposium”

March 15, 2012 2HJ hosted four symposia entitled “Food Banking: From Zero to the Present” at four venues in Japan. They featured discussions of Japan’s present food banking activities, as well as what form food banking will take in the future.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) begins promoting food banking

January-November 2012 As a part of the Food Industry and Environmental Support Committee’s Rural Industry Support Program, MAFF provides funds research food banking overseas and promote food banking in Japan.

“Gaia no Yoake”and other Media Appearances

Second Harvest Japan makes many media appearances such as on NHK’s Tokuho Shutoken, Asahi Television’s Morning Bird. There are signs that the “1/3 rule” may be relaxed.

Establish QR Code System to track donations

Begin using the QR code tracking system in order to increase the efficiency of food donations and deliveries, as well as to ensure the traceability of products. This system has enabled us to provide delivery information to donating companies more efficiently, keep track of the number, type and tonnage of deliveries to other food banks and partner agencies, and analyze and report on the overall efficiency of our logistics operations.

Encouraging CRM campaigns

CRM (Cause Related Marketing) refers to a type of marketing involving the cooperative efforts of a “for profit” business and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit (Wikiipedia). With the cooperation of beverage companies, has set up vending machines around which a percentage of sales are donated to us

To date...

As of August 2013, Second Harvest Japan had signed agreements with and receives food donations from 431 different food companies.
We distribute food to 320 welfare agencies and organizations in the Kanto area as well as nationally to other food banks and welfare agencies.

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