With the trend toward nuclear families, there are often fewer people parents can easily turn to with questions about raising their children. In light of this, Seven & i Holdings offers various types of assistance related to childcare through its stores.
Ito-Yokado and Sogo & Seibu provide maternity and childcare consultation offices (at 120 stores as of February 28, 2017) and Pre-Mama Stations (at 6 stores as of February 28, 2017). Here, public health nurses and midwives give counseling free of charge to pregnant women on their health and to mothers on childcare. They also provide rest areas equipped with booths for breast-feeding, hot-water, and toilets for children.
Number of Ito-Yokado Childcare Consultations (Users)
Ito-Yokado holds a range of events to provide childcare advice and encourage parents to interact and socialize, starting with free maternity and childcare consultation offices staffed by licensed specialists. The company also actively takes part in events with universities, municipalities and product manufacturers to maintain and promote the health of mothers, offer techniques for relaxation and rejuvenation and provide helpful childcare-related information. The overarching theme of the events is "enjoyment at home through public-private-academic partnerships," and through these events, we are helping to expand community childcare support networks.
To support career education at elementary, junior high, high schools, and universities, the Seven & i Group cooperates with requests from schools by sending out employees to each school, by providing workplace tours, and by holding workplace experience programs at its Group stores, where children have the chance to take part in running a familiar retail store. For example, York Mart provides an opportunity to observe the food processing operations and to practice stocking the shelves in the store with products. Approximately 7,000 elementary and junior high school students participate each year. Seven & i Food Systems holds workplace experience programs where students can try working as the manager of a restaurant or learn about the importance of ingredients control and hospitality through actual experience. The program was attended by students from 104 schools in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2017. The Seven & i Group training facility, Ito Training Center, provides sales space creation and food processing experiences, as well as opportunities to provide service from various customer perspectives, such as helping customers in wheelchairs and so forth. Through these experiences, the students can feel the value of working and the joy of interacting with customers.
Furthermore, Seven-Eleven Japan has a store in Shinagawa Student City, which has been run jointly by the City of Shinagawa and Junior Achievement Japan since 2003. The concept of Shinagawa Student City is to create a virtual town inside an elementary school, with various companies setting up shops and providing experience of working and society. The children working in the 7-Eleven store experience customer service, sales space creation, and other operations to learn about the systems of society. In the fiscal year ended February 28, 2017, 1,791 elementary school students staffed our store and learned about the joys and challenges of working through customer service and retail sales.
Seven-Eleven Japan held an outreach class at Suginami Dainana Elementary School in March 2017 as a part of the Yomiuri Education Network, which seeks to increase interactions between companies and schools.
The class involves a game in which 7-Eleven stores are established in fictitious towns on a map. Through the game, the students come to understand in a fun way the roles that 7-Eleven plays in society. At the same time, they learn about some of the changes taking place in Japanese society, including the aging population, declining birthrate, women's advancement in society, and decreasing number of retail stores. The class provides a good opportunity for students to think about their society from the everyday perspective of a convenience store.
Seven Bank supports the publication of "Bonolon, Warrior of the Forest," a picture book that parents can read to their children to foster communication. The bank also distributes picture books free of charge and holds storytelling sessions. Storytelling sessions are also held at Denny's restaurants, which are managed by Seven & i Food Systems.
The Seven & i Group promotes dietary education activities for children to raise people who understand foods through various experiences and can practice a sound, healthy diet.
For example, Seven & i Food Systems distributes a booklet called "Bonolon and Food" at its chain of Denny's restaurants. The booklet contains important information about food manners and knowledge and teaches children about the correct eating habits using games and quizzes.
Sogo & Seibu works with the Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning (JOICFP)* on a project for sending shoes to children in Zambia. The company has established areas for accepting donated children's shoes in all of its stores. The shoes they receive from customers help to prevent tetanus and parasitic infections resulting from foot injuries to children with bare feet. They are sent through JOICFP to children in Zambia. As of February 28, 2017, Sogo & Seibu had sent about 670,000 pairs of shoes since 2009.
Akachan Honpo and Sogo & Seibu have been providing sponsorship for the White Ribbon Campaign launched by JOICFP to protect the health of pregnant women and babies throughout the world. The Group companies have been working in partnership with JOICFP on the Community Safe Motherhood Project (which involves the donation of funds to establish Maternity Waiting Houses in Zambia). Besides accepting donations on behalf of JOICFP through its stores and online, the two companies have also installed 62 White Ribbon Campaign Vending Machines at locations throughout Japan (Akachan Honpo 41 machines, Sogo & Seibu 21 machines) as of February 28, 2017. For every beverage purchased from one of these machines, the companies donate \2 to JOICFP (\1 from the beverage manufacturer and \1 from the store where the machine is installed). In addition, Sogo & Seibu has created a White Ribbon pin badge for sale, from which all proceeds are donated to the White Ribbon Campaign.