Futaba Town, Namie Town, AEON TOHOKU Co., Ltd. and Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) are partnering to establish a mobile retail business that uses a fuel cell vehicle in specified reconstruction and revitalization bases. Futaba and Namie are both in Fukushima Prefecture, and were evacuated following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant meltdown resulting from the Great East Japan Earthquake.
The two municipalities—which are gradually repopulating—and the two companies involved in the agreement aim to support residents experiencing difficulties with everyday shopping with the establishment of a mobile retail business. Drawing on respective resources and expertise, the intention is to contribute to regional sustainability and environmental conservation to stimulate reconstruction efforts following the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Images of the fuel cell mobile retail vehicle to be operated by AEON TOHOKU
Under the specific initiatives of the agreement, AEON TOHOKU, the main party involved, will launch on 10 June a mobile retail business serving Specified Reconstruction and Revitalization Bases and other areas in Futaba Town and Namie Town where residents have an acute need for shopping support. Centered around AEON Namie Store, the business will seek to support local residents with shopping and aim to create a community that will foster peace of mind among both residents set to return home to the two towns, and those who intend to relocate to those areas.
As a result, it is hoped that the business will expedite the lifting of evacuation orders for Specified Reconstruction and Revitalization Bases in Futaba Town and Namie Town.
Furthermore, working towards the realization of a carbon-neutral society by 2050, AEON TOHOKU and Toyota, together with Futaba Town and Namie Town, wish to contribute to the creation of a sustainable community of the future that utilizes hydrogen. To this end, the use of the first hydrogen-powered fuel cell (FC) mobile retail vehicle will be implemented.
Recognizing that the retail sector is part of a region's critical infrastructure, AEON TOHOKU opened the AEON Namie Store in July 2019 to support the reconstruction of the Hamadori region of Fukushima Prefecture, which incurred significant damage from the Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing nuclear disaster.
Toyota is working together with various partners, mainly in collaboration with Fukushima Prefecture—including Namie Town, where the Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field (FH2R) is located—and is examining how hydrogen-based technologies can be implemented to help build cities of the future using hydrogen generated in Fukushima.
FH2R has been constructed with a renewable energy-powered 10MW-class hydrogen production unit. FH2R can produce as much as 1,200 Nm3 of hydrogen per hour (rated power operation) using renewable energy. Renewable energy output is subject to large fluctuations, so FH2R will adjust to supply and demand in the power grid in order to maximize utilization of this energy while establishing low-cost, green hydrogen production technology.
Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field (FH2R)
Hydrogen produced at FH2R will also be used to power stationary hydrogen fuel cell systems and to provide for the mobility devices, fuel cell cars and buses, and more.
Primary roles of the four signatories are:
Futaba Town and Namie Town. Futaba Town and Namie Town will provide information regarding areas in which there is an acute need for shopping support―including the demand from residents for a mobile retail option, the location of existing stores in towns, and the living conditions of senior residents. With the aim of more sustainable community building, the two towns will work together with partner companies to resolve issues faced by local residents.
AEON TOHOKU. AEON TOHOKU will launch a mobile retail business in areas that have an acute need for shopping support. It will also create community spaces within the two towns, and work to provide services that encourage residents to return to their hometowns.
Toyota. The company will provide next-generation mobility in the form of the world’s first fuel cell mobile retail vehicle.