Contributing to society and creating a virtuous cycle of sustainable growth
The Social Mission of NEXCO East Group
Fulfilling Social Responsibility via Business Activities
The upkeep and operation of transport infrastructures, starting with roads, railways and airways, are public services. Notably, in the case of expressways, 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, safe, secure, comfortable and convenient service must be provided – this is the mission of NEXCO East Group, and it will not change in the next ten or 20 years to come. We are fulfilling our corporate social responsibilities (CSR) based on the three pillars of “vitalization of regional communities,”“promotion of traffic safety” and “environmental preservation.” And, as our business activities underpin public service, we believe that those very activities fulfil our CSR.
Whereas, regarding our initiatives for SDGs, we support them, and we have made it known publicly that we have revised the current Mid-Term Management Plan to apply SDGs to the action plans for each of our business operations.
Anticipating the Futures of Regions
We are continuing to focus on improvements to the expressway network to eliminate missing links. And, thanks to work on the TOKYO-GAIKAN EXPWY, the volume of traffic flowing into the heart of the city is being optimized, while work on other routes also can be expected to stimulate promotion of regional economies, including the attraction of industries and primary industries.
Also, we are developing our rest area and parking area infrastructures from the perspective of comfort and convenience. On July 29, 2019, moving away from Tokyo slightly, TOHOKU EXPWY Hasuda Rest Area (inbound) was opened as one of the biggest rest areas under the jurisdiction of East Japan. The commercial facilities in this inbound rest area are the seventh set of facilities we have opened as “Pasars,” providing amazing services to the public. From here on too, we not only want to encourage expressway users but also the locals of communities to use our rest areas and parking areas – thus, to that end, we want to contribute to the vitalization of regional communities by enabling local communities to sell specialties as well as local fish and local fruits & vegetables at our rest areas and parking areas.
Creating an Infrastructure for Disaster Response and Recovery Support
In recent years, natural disaster risks, including earthquakes, typhoons and torrential rain, are increasing. At the NEXCO East Group, besides regularly engaging in disaster prevention training to respond swiftly at times of disaster, we collaborate with the relevant authorities to enable the fire department, police and self-defence forces, etc., to make use of rest areas and parking areas for their recovery activities.
As a company with operations in the eastern region of Japan, we are striving to contribute to further recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake. We are collaborating with the people in Tohoku, who are making great efforts for their region, through expanding the JOBAN EXPWY to 4 lanes and promoting tourism that will draw people to Tohoku. The entire company will continue to work together for the recovery.
From a CSR perspective, we place great importance on support of the recovery work from the Great East Japan Earthquake, cooperating in events, such as the Tohoku Kizuna Festival.
NEXCO East Group from Here On
Some 50 years have passed since the expressways were first built, so an urgent challenge involves dealing with aging expressways. What is more, aging is rapidly speeding up due to the tendency for more trucks to use expressways and the impact of anti-freezing agents, used because many of the areas we operate in are susceptible to heavy snowfalls and ice. Therefore, while ensuring the safety and security of our customers by continuing daily maintenance work, we have launched a massive project, the Expressway Renewal Project, which is a long-term initiative stretching to FY2030. This kind of project is a new experience for our group – new fields, including the development of technologies for inspecting and maintaining, that we will challenge.
Greater Productivity is the Keyword
Amidst a decreasing birthrate and aging population that are leading to a reduced working age population, one of the issues we are faced by is: “how do we secure our workforce?” Yet, for vehicles and roads, etc., there are some amazing technological innovations in the areas of hardware technology as well as software technology, such as AI and ICT. And, at NEXCO East Group, we too need to change with the times, in order to take on board the technologies we can make use of.
Under such circumstances, we have started an initiative called SMH (Smart Maintenance Highway). SMH is a technical work system promoting the use of robots for inspections, compiling results in a database, and using AI and other technologies to support management of the infrastructure.
Further, we will promote the optimization of work by making use of technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA) to automate basic office work in fields like accounting and on-site assets management.
In terms of securing a workforce, we will encourage veteran employees to continue working for us or joining us again, while also taking measures to increase positions that provide opportunities for both men and women, including the introduction of flexible working hours.
Since this April, the Act Related to Workstyle Reforms is being phased in. At NEXCO East Group, this is year zero for our workstyle reforms, and we want to raise awareness of management in the role of creating schemes for maintaining work-life balance and assure healthy lifestyles of our employees, and we want those schemes to become ingrained into worksite practices. Yet, amidst these efforts, there could be employees who find that work means everything to them, so they do not want to be restricted in how they work – therefore, modifying the idea, we think it is important to fulfil our mission within the framework of the law and social rules, but raise productivity in so doing.
Together with Society
For a company to remain in business, it is vital to have technical prowess, but, more importantly, the company also must function efficiently and correctly, to earn the acclaim from society for its results. Japan originally had the precept of “Omi merchant's“ Sanpo Yoshi ”(Sanpo means three sides and Yoshi means good), as a business culture, and it has been accepted by people. “Three” indicates “seller”, “buyer”, and “public”, and the concept of the precept is that good business will benefit whole society, as well as satisfy the seller and buyer. Thus, contributing to society and being acknowledged for that contribution is the honor and ethical duty of each employee. NEXCO East Group considers itself as a company within society and will continue to contribute to the growth of society.