TECH & CULTURE

New work opportunities for people with challenges

By Staff Writer
July 29, 2022
In our series of Japan Up Close articles, we would like to continuously share the topic of Japan’s sustainability through explainer form article. Previously, we have introduced Japan’s ‘tenji blocks’ (https://japanupclose.web-japan.org/tech/t20211008_1.html) which is one of the Japan’s technologies to assist visually impaired pedestrians. And this time we would like to introduce a labor support facility which is making approach to contribute for employment assistance of people with challenges. Nakamachi-no-sato (Managed by Genpachi LLC) located in Tsuzuki-ku Yokohama, Kangawa Prefecture, is a labor support facility, which gives employment support for people with challenges.

Gathering strength of every worker

At Nakamachi-no-sato, there are people with challenges, and their main task is to prepare “Bento”, a Japanese style lunch box. Each day, they produce 300 meals, roughly 6000 meals per month. Under the circumstance of COVID-19 pandemic, while many of these facilities are struggling with their businesses, Nakamachi-no-sato continues to operate with economically healthy status. What is special about this Bento making is procedures are divided into 20 steps, so that teammates with different types of challenges can work on what they are good at. After finishing Bento making, they hold a staff meeting to discuss what each of them is good at and decide roles of each staff for the next day.
A bento box with a variety of Japanese foods
Bento is a Japanese style lunch box with a variety of ingredients.

A small chance or a little confidence can make a big change

At Nakamachi-no-sato, users (people with challenges who work in this facility) are beginning to take steps toward independence with the money they have earned. For the future, Nakamachi-no-sato is planning to expand their support to management of restaurants, clearing jobs and so on to assist users. The founder of Genpachi, Mr. Sato says “There is actually not that much of difference between people with disabilities and able-bodied people in terms of work. A small chance or a little confidence has the potential to make a big change. I would be happy if I could help.”
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