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When Shota clicked the button, an illustration of a monochrome town appeared and filled the entire PC screen. Three buttons were lined up in the middle, and the top button "Electricity is vital to life in a town" was flashing. Invited by the flashing light, Shota pressed the button. A large letters appeared in the top section of the screen.

<<What is necessary to use electricity?>>

"It's a quiz. Hmm, electricity...I don't know 'what is necessary' to use electricity because I take it for granted. First of all, a power plant is needed to generate electricity. Secondly, we need power cables to deliver the generated electricity, and then...."

When Shota looked at the screen again, a man was waving his hand from a building located in a corner of the illustrated town. "I guess he'll give me the answer," Shota moved the cursor and clicked the man. The man grew larger and started to talk to Shota, in a very friendly manner for someone he had just met for the first time.

"I am the Power Bussan-jin! Let's obtain necessary items and flow electricity in the town."

"Bussan-jin? He's full of energy," Shota thought. Overwhelmed by his cheerful voice, Shota said to the screen, "You say necessary items, but in the modern age, all places have electricity."

Bussan-jin wagged his index finger, "It is true only in developed countries like Japan. In reality, 1.3 billion people, which is about 20% of the world population, live without electricity. (World Energy Outlook 2011 data)"

Shota widened his eyes, "That many people live without TV, air conditioner and lights?"

"That's right. It is one of Mitsui & Co.'s jobs to provide support for these people to have a convenient life with electricity," smiled Bussan-jin.

"What do we need to do to use electricity?" asked Shota. Bussan-jin nodded to Shota's question and showed an illustration.

"Roughly speaking, electricity is generated at a power plant, transmitted using power cables, converted to usable electricity at a transformer station, and supplied to houses and factories," the Power Bussan-jin explained.

"The facilities must be constructed, and power cables must be procured. That's a lot of work." To Shota's comment, Bussan-jin shook his head, "That's not all. In some cases, the land where the facilities are built must be prepared." Shota widened his eyes, "The land, too? That means that companies from different fields have to collaborate and perform a lot of specialized jobs!"

"That's why Mitsui & Co. is needed. As a sogo-shosha, Mitsui & Co. can coordinate all processes and support collaboration of different parties," said Bussan-jin. Shota was not convinced.

"Electricity is needed overseas. It would be too difficult to implement such a project."

"Please read this report. We, Bussan-jin, can do all sorts of works, from construction of a power plant, installation of power cables to construction of a substation. You can see the process of constructing a power plant, a central facility, through an actual project used as an example."

"It's not easy to build a power plant, is it?" Bussan-jin nodded to Shota's question, "Certainly it is not easy. The construction period is about three years, and the operation period after completion of the plant is 25 years. The total project expense is about 3.9 billion dollars." Bussan-jin pointed to the button, "Bussan-jin's Responsibility <Power Plant>," which has started flashing in the corner of the screen.

Shota clicked the button, and a report article appeared on the screen.

*Job titles and organization names as of March 2012

©2011-2012 Nikkei Business Publications, Inc. Nikkei Business Online Special, Translated by Mitsui & Co., Ltd.

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