At the end of October 2021, Japanese ICMIF member Zenkyoren (National Mutual Insurance Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives) was awarded the “Golden Order of Merit” by the Japanese Red Cross Society in recognition of its blood donation activities. These activities have been part of Zenkyoren’s community contribution activities for many years. The Golden Order of Merit was established by the Japanese Red Cross Society in 1885 and is the highest level of commendation that the Society gives.
Last year marked the 50th anniversary of Zenkyoren ‘s blood donation activities. The award highly commended Zenkyoren ‘s blood donation activities over the years and its proactive actions under the recent slogan of “Now it is the time to help each other, Now it is the time to donate blood” in the face of the declining number of blood donors due to the Covid-19 epidemic.
Mr Tsuneo Kato, Director of the Tokyo Red Cross Blood Center, presented the plaque recognising the commendation of the Golden Order of Merit for Zenkyoren, saying: “Based on the Zenkyoren ‘s long history of blood donation activities, we prepared the Golden Order of Merit. In particular, the shortage of blood donations became serious during the covid-19, and in April and May 2021, when the Tokyo Red Cross Blood Center declared a state of emergency, approximately 80% of blood donation vehicles were canceled. Under these circumstances, Zenkyoren was very grateful for the active involvement of local residents in blood donation activities.”
Mr Hideki Iwashita, Managing Director of Zenkyoren expressed his delight at receiving the award and his enthusiasm for the future. “We are very proud to have been evaluated for the activities we have been working on steadily. As a cooperative organisation, the basis of our activities is mutual aid. The blood donation activities for many years are one of the concrete efforts of this mutual aid philosophy. Not only through this blood donation activity, but also in our own belief that we will do all we can to contribute to the local community in the future.”
In recent Zenkyoren blood donation activities, donors were given cookies from shops that actively employ people with disabilities or flowers that may have gone to waste as thank you gifts. The aim was to also draw people’s attention to the coexistence of agriculture and welfare projects which help persons with disabilities, and which support farmers. Through these actions, Zenkyoren is expanding the circle of mutual help.