Marutomi established Japan’s first joint venture company with Bangladesh in October 2007. As a first step, we accepted three scholarship students from Bangladesh to Japan. By living together in Japan, while learning about Japanese lifestyle and culture, they were taught about and instilled in the ideas and techniques behind Marutomi’s manufacturing, and have grown into artisans with an understanding of Japanese culture.
Then, our Japanese employees joined in the construction of the factory in Bangladesh, and together with the local staff, we started the factory together totally from scratch. Of course, at the factory, the Bangladeshi artisans who were our scholarship students are the central technical pillars.
We pride ourselves on being able to produce products to the same level of quality as in Japan, even though we are an overseas factory. We have done this through carefully building up connections between people across the seas, starting with accepting scholarship students.
The Bangladesh factory, which initially had about 30 people, has grown into a large factory with more than 500 people, as demand has increased along with improved technology. With its very own tanner, it is possible at this factory to develop new leather that cannot be managed anywhere else. Furthermore, we have a wide network in Asia and Europe, and we also have the advantage of being able to directly procure various materials from other countries.
Moreover, as Bangladesh is a country subject to preferential tariffs, there are no import duties on the products we handle. So, it is possible to make products even cheaper.
In addition to production, we also consider environmental issues and have obtained ISO14001 (environmental management system) certification.
In Bangladesh, the educational environment is still less established than in Japan, and in suburban villages not all children can even go to school.
After establishing a joint venture in 2007, we established an elementary school together with Mr. Abedin of our joint venture, Abedin Group, who has established elementary schools for children in his home town and the development of the country, since 1983.
We continue to provide support and in 2013 led the elementary school to nationalization under the Bangladeshi government and primary education sector. Currently, 120 children are studying hard in the new school building that has been renovated into a two-story building.
At the same time, as part of Mr. Abedin and our combined social welfare activities, we continue to supply students each year with school bags and other necessary equipment.