Mitsui & Co. considers Brazil as its close neighbor, having built a very strong relationship with the country and her people through its business activities. We undertake a variety of support activities with the aim of deepening mutual understanding and achieving true multicultural harmony between Japan and Brazil.
There are many Brazilians living in Japan, next to the Chinese, South and North Korean and Philippine people. Although the figure decreased after the economic crisis caused by the collapse of Lehman Brothers in the autumn of 2008, and the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011 has effected more decrement, there are still 173,437 Brazilian people living in Japan as of the end of December, 2015. There is a high concentration of Brazilian residents living with their families in areas with a large number of factories serving the automotive and consumer-electronics industries. Their children attend Japanese public schools or Brazilian schools, but there are also some children who do not go to school at all.
From 1908, as many as 270,000 Japanese emigrated to Brazil, where their offspring now number 1.5 million. Many Brazilians of Japanese heritage are active in politics and business, making Brazil a country with very friendly relations with Japan. Mitsui has long-standing and close business ties with Brazil which go back to the 1930s. Although Brazil is geographically on the opposite side of the earth to Japan, it is one of emotionally closest countries for us, Mitsui, thanks to the strong connection.
Following a revision of Japanese immigration law in 1990, many Brazilians of Japanese heritage came to Japan with their families. However, the children of these Brazilians face a number of problems: children who go to Japanese public schools lack Japanese language skills, those who go to Brazilian schools suffer from poor facilities and inadequate teaching materials, and there are many children who do not attend school at all. After investigating what Mitsui could do to improve this poor educational environment, in 2005 Mitsui began activities to support Brazilian residents in Japan, focusing on children, and these activities are still continuing today. The aim is to deepen mutual understanding between Japan and Brazil and promote genuine multicultural coexistence.