Tamotsu Sugenami, left, a staff member of the office for JBC CSR Fund, hands over a list of donation to Imari Mayor Yoshikazu Tsukabe in the Imari city government office in Saga Prefecture on Jan. 6.
IMARI, Saga Prefecture–In seeking something scholarship recipients can sink their teeth into, five staff members of a nonprofit organization in Tokyo searched for a worthy recipient of their tax payments.
Impressed with the Imari mayor’s anti-nuclear stance, the staffers contributed 12 million yen (about $102,600) of their tax money to the city government here.
In return, they’ll receive about 380 kilograms of delicious Imari beef to distribute to scholarship winners, including many affected by the Kumamoto earthquakes.
The five used the “Furusato nozei” (Hometown tax) system, which allows people to divert part of their local tax payments to their favorite local governments. In return, many of those governments send local specialties to donors.
The NPO, named JBC CSR Fund, a scholarship organization, plans to distribute the meat to 223 high school students, including 129 impacted by the powerful earthquakes in Kumamoto last April.
The NPO gives scholarships to high school students who have academic capabilities but are in financial difficulties due to their family circumstances.
The organization considered presenting the beef it would receive to scholarship recipients by utilizing the Furusato nozei system. In consideration, it chose Imari, a production center of the brand beef.
The NPO decided on the city as its mayor, Yoshikazu Tsukabe, expressed opposition to the restart of the Genkai nuclear power plant in Genkai, Saga Prefecture, in 2016. Imari is located within a 30-kilometer radius of the nuclear plant.
On Jan. 6, Tamotsu Sugenami, a staff member of the office for the fund, visited the Imari government and handed over the documentation for the donation to Tsukabe.
While referring to an interview that ran in the Jan. 3 Asahi Shimbun in which Tsukabe expressed his opposition to the restart, Sugenami complimented the mayor, saying, “We quickly became fans of Imari.”
In response, Tsukabe said, “I was encouraged, although I tend to be isolated (due to my opposition to the nuclear plant).”
The mayor also said, “Once the nuclear power plant is restarted, it will be difficult to stop again. As the plant’s operations are suspended now, it is time to switch to anti-nuclear policies.”
He added, “I will deliver delicious Imari beef to high school students (through the NPO).”
Each of the 223 students will be able to enjoy about 1.7 kilograms of beef.