August 19, 2015
  • Rakuten, Inc.

Rakuten Mobile Library Project Launched in France

- New Collaboration with Local NGO Aimed at Providing Support to French Children -

Tokyo, August 19, 2015 – Rakuten, Inc. today announced that it has entered into an agreement with French NGO Secours Populaire Francais (“SPF”)*1 to collaborate on an initiative to provide comprehensive support to children in France. The first stage of this collaborative initiative, which is scheduled to begin this autumn, will involve deploying the Rakuten Mobile Library*2 overseas for the very first time. The Rakuten Mobile Library has already been deployed in four different prefectures in Japan.

Rakuten exhibited the Rakuten Mobile Library at the “Rebirth of Tohoku – WA” event held by the OECD*3 in Paris last September to promote recovery aid for areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, and at the conclusion of the event, Rakuten donated the mobile library’s books to SPF. Through its involvement in the event, Rakuten learned more about SPF and agreed with its principles and its aid activities focused on children, and during a series of subsequent discussions regarding the possibility of engaging in collaborative projects, both parties agreed to collaborate on this new aid initiative.

As in Japan, the Rakuten Mobile Library to be deployed in France will feature books aimed at infant-aged children up to junior high school students. The library will carry approximately 2,000 books including, in addition to French picture books and children’s literature, French versions of Japanese picture books and comic books, as well as five Kobo e-book readers, with the aim of providing French children with the opportunity to grow and develop through reading. The mobile library is scheduled to be deployed in the department of Nord in northern France, where relatively low literacy rates amongst children are common. The project aims to contribute to improving literacy rates amongst children in the area by providing them with opportunities to discover the joy of reading beginning with picture books.

Rakuten Group currently engages in business in Asia, Europe, North and South America, and Oceania, and the globalization of the group’s operation is accelerating. Rakuten Group is also aiming to expand the scope of its CSR activities*4 in line with its five overarching CSR initiatives*5, primarily in the countries and regions in which the group has a presence. Rakuten Group operates in France through PriceMinister, and also collaborates with the company on CSR activities, and both are working on deploying the Rakuten Mobile Library in line with Rakuten’s wider “education for future generations” and “community growth” CSR initiatives. Rakuten is also considering rolling out comprehensive collaborative projects with SPF in line with Rakuten’s “sports and cultural advancement” and “disaster recovery and humanitarian efforts” CSR initiatives.

Rakuten is also exhibiting the Rakuten Mobile Library at an event organized by SPF called “Holidays for All” being held from today at the Champ de Mars (a park near the Eiffel Tower). The aim of the event is to provide deprived children with opportunities to enjoy trips during their summer holidays, and approximately 70,000 children and family members from around France and 70 other countries who for economic reasons are unable to travel have been invited.

Main Points of the Basic Agreement on Project Collaboration

Agreement Date: August 19, 2015
1. Collaborative Educational Aid Project
    - Deployment of the Rakuten Mobile Library
    - Mobile library circuit area: Nord department in northern France.
    - Regularity of library rounds: 10 rounds per month are scheduled
    - URL:
    -Library content:
    < Books >
      - Number of books: Approximately 2,000
      - Book types: French picture books and children’s literature for infants up to junior high school students, as well as French       versions of Japanese picture books and comic books.
     < eReaders >
      - Number of e-book readers: Five “Kobo Aura” eReaders (for browsing)
      - eReader content: This is currently being considered and shall take into consideration children’s reading trends.
* The Rakuten Mobile Library being exhibited at the Holidays for All event at the Champ de Mars has 400 books, and in order to    allow more children to use the library, four reading booths have also been set up. The event begins at 11:00 and ends at 15:00.
2. Sports and cultural advancement-related projects
3. Disaster recovery and humanitarian efforts-related projects

*1 Secours Populaire Francais is an NGO that was established in France after World War Two in 1945. It is a private humanitarian aid organization based in Paris that provides aid to people whose livelihoods are threatened by international or ethnic conflict, people suffering from impoverishment, and people affected by natural disasters, etc. It is now one of France’s leading aid organizations with 97 federations, over 600 committees, 960,000 donors, and 80,000 volunteer members.

*2 The Rakuten Mobile Library project ( was launched in December 2012 as part of education promotion and recovery aid efforts for children in Fukushima Prefecture. The original Rakuten Mobile Library is a vehicle designed for use as a library that holds approximately 1,200 books as well as Kobo Touch eReaders, providing a new way for children to experience reading.    

The library is used not only by children but by their guardians as well, and thereby makes a modest contribution to regional community building, and regional revitalization was therefore also later added as one of the aims of the project. Similar projects were also launched in collaboration with Gifu Prefecture in May 2014 and with Shimane Prefecture in July 2014. In both prefectures the mobile libraries contain books from their respective prefectural libraries as well as books selected to reflect local characteristics. In November 2014, another mobile library project was launched by Rakuten alone in Gunma Prefecture. As of July 2015, the mobile libraries had 20,503 users.

*3 The mission of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. The OECD provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems. The OECD works with governments to understand what drives economic, social and environmental change, and measures productivity and global flows of trade and investment. The OECD analyses and compares data to predict future trends and sets international standards on a wide range of things, from agriculture and tax to the safety of chemicals.

*4 The “Global Rakuten’s Forest” reforestation initiative was launched in April this year in Indonesia and in Brazil in May as part of Rakuten’s “environmental considerations” CSR initiative. The initiative is aimed at restoring the original functions of forests and conserving their ecosystems through forest management. Although large-scale forest development was carried out in Japan during the period of rapid economic growth, sufficient thinning of those forests was not carried out, meaning that many have since become overly dense, and forest thinning and undergrowth clearing is now required to revitalize the forest ecosystems. The initiative is presently being rolled out in 15 prefectures around Japan, and is scheduled to eventually include projects in all 47 of Japan’s prefectures.

*5 1. Sports and cultural advancement; 2. Education for future generations; 3. Community growth; 4. Environmental considerations; and 5. Disaster recovery and humanitarian efforts.

*Please note that the information contained in press releases is current as of the date of release.

  • Month
  • Year
  • Category
  • Month
  • Year
  • Category