bitWallet, Inc., manager of the e-money service “Edy” and member of the Rakuten Group (“bitWallet,” CEO: Yoshihisa Yamada, Head Office: Shinagawa-ku, Japan) today launched the “Cha-ching Fund-Raising Drive” aimed at assisting the self-reliance of children in the remote islands of Okinawa. This is the first undertaking to be implemented in connection with the partnership agreement concluded between Rakuten, Inc. and Okinawa Prefecture earlier in the month..
With this fund-raising effort, bitWallet is supporting the “Let’s All Get a Good Job Program” promoted by Okinawa Prefecture, which assists the self-reliance of children in the remote islands. bitWallet’s will donate a portion of its income from purchases made using Edy at member stores throughout Japan from today until the end of April. Specifically, the donations will go toward travel expenses and materials costs for a program aimed at providing better information regarding educational and employment opportunities to children in remote islands. This program will be conducted by Okinawa’s university students and is scheduled to begin around May 2011.
Okinawa’s unemployment rate is high for Japan, at 7.6% as of 2010. The prefecture is promoting various activities under the “Let’s All Get a Good Job Program” in order to bring the unemployment rate down to the national average. In addition to the company’s belief in this program, the comparatively high rate of penetration of Edy in Okinawa was a factor in bitWallet’s decision to initiate the “Cha-ching Fund-Raising Drive.” The company wishes to continue to make such contributions toward creating an environment that nurtures the hopes and dreams of the children of Okinawa Prefecture, who will bear responsibility for the prefecture’s future.
Since bitWallet opened its Okinawa branch office in October 2005, the number of Edy member stores in Okinawa has increased to about 4,000 (as of February 2011). Edy is used widely in Okinawa Prefecture, with Edy-usable environments offered in nearly every facet of living, including supermarkets, convenience stores, hospitals, clothes cleaners, and many other stores and services. In addition, due to geographical factors, many users who enjoy traveling to Okinawa by airplane accumulate miles using Edy in such forms as the ANA Mileage Club Edy Card, the ANA Card with Edy function, and Osaifu-Keitai®. With the number of people making use of Edy to accumulate ANA miles on the rise, the Edy penetration rate in Okinawa Prefecture is now among the highest in Japan. The Rakuten Group’s Tohoku Rakuten Eagles also conduct their spring training on the Okinawan island of Kumejima. Thus, Rakuten Group considers its relationship with Okinawa Prefecture to be a very close one.
The above efforts will also be advanced as part of the Rakuten Group’s CSR activities. （http://corp.rakuten.co.jp/csr/）.
Moving forward, bitWallet will continue to work to “Empower Okinawa” and develop social action programs through its Edy e-money service.
※ “Edy” is a prepaid e-money service brand managed by bitWallet, Inc.
※ “Osaifu-Keitai®” is the registered trademark of NTT DoCoMo, Inc.