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Vending Machines Enable Users to Donate to Charity (July 20, 2006)

A JOICFP charity vending machine (JOICFP)
Appearing across Japan recently is something called the "charity vending machine," which allows users to donate their change to such good causes as environmental conservation and child welfare at the push of a button. These machines have been well received by consumers, who enjoy being able to contribute to a cause that interests them when they buy a canned or bottled drink.

Contributing to the White Ribbon Campaign
Drinks maker Ito En has linked up with the Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning (JOICFP) and last year began setting up vending machines that dispense drinks with White Ribbon stickers attached. The machines are presently in use in eight locations, including in front of the building in Tokyo's Shinjuku district that houses JOICFP.

When a person buys a drink from one of these vending machines, a portion of the profits goes to the White Ribbon Campaign, which aims to protect the lives and health of pregnant women in developing countries. The prices of canned and bottled drinks are the same as those of a normal machine, but between ¥2 and ¥5 (a few US cents) per bottle is donated to JOICFP. In fiscal 2005 (April 2005 to March 2006), some ¥220,000 ($1,929 at ¥114 to the dollar) was collected and given to a project for maternal and infant health care in Afghanistan's Nangarhar Province.

The ¥100 and ¥10 donation buttons on a vending machine at Tohoku Fukushi University (Tohoku Fukushi University)

Machines Appearing in Student Cafeterias
A charity vending machine devised by the NPO Miyagi Heartful Vendor was installed in a student cafeteria at Tohoku Fukushi University in Sendai City this May. There are two buttons above the coin slot marked ¥10 (9¢) and ¥100 (89¢), and a customer can donate one of these amounts from his or her change after purchasing a drink just by pressing the appropriate button. The buttons can be pressed as many times as the customer likes, with each press increasing the donation. It is also possible to donate money without purchasing a drink. Plans are afoot to install 200 of these machines in Miyagi Prefecture by March 2007 and to distribute the funds collected to social welfare organizations and disaster relief groups.

Through the use of charity vending machines, various Coca-Cola Bottling companies have been working closely with local communities to undertake such efforts as contributing to environmental protection measures (in Shari Town, Hokkaido), returning storks to the wild (in Toyooka City, Hyogo Prefecture), and preserving crabs (in Kasaoka City, Okayama Prefecture). Likewise, Pokka Corp. in February 2005 began donating a portion of the profits from sales of its "carton can" drinks to the Forest Fund, which plays a role in training people in forestry.

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Copyright (c) 2006 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

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