Social Contribution Activities

Nurturing Future Generations

The future rests on the shoulders of adolescents and children. With that in mind, we carry out various activities aimed at teaching the young that chemicals are all around us, and showing them how fun, interesting and mystifying chemistry can be, as well as getting them interested in science, and inspiring them to create the technologies of the future.

Laboratory Class in the Wonders of Chemistry

We started the laboratory class in the wonders of chemistry because we wanted to share the fun and possibilities of chemistry with future generations of children.
Since 2006, we have organized various types of classes, from off-site classes, whereby members of staff from each of our sites go out to local schools, summer-vacation events and festivals, to laboratory classes combined with tours round our works and research centers. In fiscal 2015, we organized a total of 42 classes at 16 sites.

We are always trying to come up with new ways to teach children about chemistry in a fun and easy- to-understand context. Activities at each of our sites are based on the theme of chemistry in our everyday lives, to make children feel closer to chemicals through fun experiments. The aim is to show children just how crucial chemicals are in their everyday lives and to demonstrate what they can achieve with the power of chemistry. More than 5,300 children took part in classes over the course of fiscal 2015. We have received feedback on classes from lots of children, including comments such as “I like science a lot more now” and “I'm going to try this experiment again when I get home”

In recognition of these activities, we received the Catalysis Society of Japan’s 2015 Award for Education and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) Award for Companies Promoting Experience-based Learning Activities for the Youth (Judge’s Commendation) in the large corporation category for 2015. In addition, we registered with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology as a Saturday Learning Support Group and are working to spread education to even more children.


A laboratory class being held in China


A scene from a “Dream Chemistry-21 Summer Vacation Children's Chemistry Experiment Show”

Laboratory Classes in the Wonders of Chemistry Experiments

*Experiment titles are subject to change

No. Experiment title Field / area / format Description
1 Foamy urethane experiment ChemistryChemical reactionsDemonstration MCI products Participants watch urethane, whose uses include cushion materials, specially designed pillows and refrigerator insulation, being foamed and experience reaction heat and differences in hardness
2Slime
・ Making your own slime
・ Making jumbo slime together
・ Shiny slime
・ Slime ball
ChemistryPolymer propertiesHands-on Participants learn about the principles of dilatant fluid and confined water, by making sticky, stretchy, mysterious "slime" (i.e. cross- linking polyvinyl alcohol, water and borax)
3Light experiments with polarizing plate PhysicsLightHands-on Participants learn about the passage of light through a polarizing plate with an element that converts natural light into linear light, as used in mobile phones and other such devices, by making a kaleidoscope
4Chromatography art ChemistryAdsorption and separationHands-on Participants learn that the ink in a water-based pen contains a mixture of various different colors (pigments)
5Plastic boardChemistryPolymer propertiesHands-on Participants learn about the properties and separation of plastics, by using the heat shrinkable properties of polystyrene to make their own original accessories (key holders)
6Cartesian divers PhysicsBuoyancyHands-on Participants learn about buoyancy and pressure, by making a Cartesian diver from a PET bottle and a plastic soy sauce container
7Red cabbage color experiment ChemistryAcid and alkaliHands-on Participants learn about chemical analysis and the properties of acids and alkalis, by extracting anthocyanin from red cabbage and investigating the properties of everyday liquids
8Spongy polymers ChemistryPolymer propertiesHands-on
Related to MCI products (nonwoven fabric)
Participants learn about the principle of water retention, by making an air freshener from a water-absorbing polymer, as used in disposable diapers, gardening supplies and other such products
9Rainbow tower PhysicsSpecific gravityHands-on Participants learn about the specific gravity (relative density) of fluids, by pouring colored waters with varying concentrations together to make a tower
10Let's make a freezer! ChemistryHeat of solutionHands-on
MCI products
(urea)
Participants learn about the principle of heat adsorption via the heat of solution of urea, as used in such products as fertilizer and moisturizing cream
11Learn how bubble bath works! ChemistryReaction of acid and saltHands-on Participants learn about how carbon dioxide is produced, by making bubble bath from baking soda and citric acid
12Learn about acid rain! ChemistryAcid and alkali
Oxidation / reduction
Hands-on Participants learn about acid rain and what causes it, by measuring the pH of red cabbage extract and conducting a bleaching experiment using iodine
13Let's make paper! TechnologyMaking paper / recyclingHands-on
Related to MCI products
(acrylamide)
Participants learn about how paper is made and recycled, by experiencing papermaking using everyday implements
14Let's make stickers from melted plastic! ChemistryPolymer propertiesHands-on
Related to MCI products
(general thermoplastics)
Participants learn about the properties of thermoplastics, which melt when heated, by using a glue gun to melt resin and make stickers
15Experience the wonders of shrinking films! ChemistryPolymer propertiesHands-on
Related to MCI products
(film, PET, etc.)
Participants learn about the principle of heat shrinkage, by making their own PET bottle from shrinkable film, as used for PET bottle labels and packaging materials
16See the power of air!
(air cannon experiment)
PhysicsHydrodynamicsDemonstration Participants learn about air resistance, by observing air rings emitted from an air cannon
17Let's make snow on pine cones! ChemistryCrystalsHands-on
MCI products (urea)
Participants learn about crystal deposition, by observing dissolved urea being sprayed onto pinecones and drying
18Let's make light like a firefly! ChemistryEnzymesHands-on Participants learn about the difference between bioluminescence and chemiluminescence by making light from luciferase enzymes taken from fireflies and using mineral-based chemicals
19Let’s try and absorb oil! ChemistryPolymer propertiesHands-on
MCI product
(TAFNEL™)
Participants learn about the principles and how to use adsorbent materials, by absorbing only the oil from mixed oil and water substances as well as the impact on the environment of oil spillage
20Expand? Shrink? Disappear?!
Let’s look into the properties of mystery plastics!
ChemistryPolymer propertiesHands-on
MCI product
(Absortomer™)
Participants learn about the properties of a variety of plastic films, by taking steps to expand, shrink, and dissolve various plastics. Participants also learn about changes in polymers (plastics) attributable to temperatures

The logo used for laboratory classesThe logo used for laboratory classes

Mascots used in laboratory classesMascots used in laboratory classes

Placements for interns Omuta Plant

A Mitsui Chemicals Group company, Yamamoto Chemicals (Head Office: Osaka; production and sale of paints, pigments and other chemical products), provides an internship program at the Omuta Plant at the request of local schools. This internship program has been held 15 times, once a year since 2000 (with the exception of 2002).

Date:August 24-25, 2015 (two days)
*Program cancelled on August 25 due to a typhoon
Participants:Fukuoka Prefecture Miike Industrial High School
Industrial chemistry: one student
Content: 1. Introduction to the company
2. Tour of the works
3. Environmental, safety and quality training
4. Overview of production management
5. Hands-on training at production sites
6. Practice using analytical equipment
7. Composition of a final report

These internships focused on hands-on training to give the students opportunities to learn about manufacturing and the basics of safety, quality, and production floors. The students said that they were able experience what it is like to work in a chemical factory through hands-on use of technology. Through grass-roots activities with communities like this, Mitsui Chemicals aims to promote interest in the structure and history of the chemical industry to future generations.


Intern being shown a control panel


Interns and members of Omuta Works

Receiving Visitors and Interns from Overseas

We receive visitors and interns from overseas to learn about Japanese manufacturing operations and products. JENESYS 2015*1 is a program under which we invite visiting 22-person delegations to tour the Ichihara Works and exchange opinions.
Moreover, we accepted six interns (three under the emerging market development personnel training assistance program; three under the low-carbon technology export promotion personnel training assistance program) from HIDA*2.
Through these opportunities, we will cooperate with activities to deepen interest in and understanding of the Japanese manufacturing industry internationally.

*1
JENESYS2015:
A government-sponsored youth exchange program between Japan and countries in Asia, Oceania, North America, Europe, and Central/South America conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE). The purpose of the program is to enhance the foundation of Japan’s foreign affairs by promoting understanding of Japan among talented individuals anticipated to excel in various walks of life.
*2
HIDA:
The Overseas Human Resources and Industry Development Association is an organization for human resources development in developing countries to promote technical cooperation through training, experts dispatch and other programs.


Interns from HIDA


JENESYS 2015 inspection tour

Supporting SSH Corporate Partnership Classes at Chosei High School

Mobara Research and Development Center lends its support to corporate partnership classes with Chosei High School, located in Mobara City, Chiba Prefecture to provide a full range of high school level science/technology education.
In fiscal 2015, two Mitsui Chemicals researchers were dispatched to Chosei High School to introduce the students to nature of our business, how chemistry contributes to society and people’s lifestyles, and discuss what it is like working at Mitsui Chemicals.
A student attending the class mentioned that research looks like a difficult but rewarding profession since many years of research and repeated experiments ultimately leads to the creation of products used in our daily life. The students that took our class became more interested in chemistry and biology, and we hope that they will eventually choose careers that support science and technology in Japan.


A seminar conducted for high school students

Support for Intellectual Property Education for College Students

At the request of Ariake National College of Technology in Omuta, we have been organizing intellectual property education for students since fiscal 2007. In fiscal 2015, we once again organized an intensive training seminar for technical college students providing an overview of intellectual property rights and how they are used, as part of the college's own curriculum based on partnerships in the local area on January 5, 2016.
The six-hour seminar included intensive lectures and a lively question and answer sessions. Our activities definitely helped to deepen the understanding of the participating students in intellectual property.
We will continue to assist with these types of social contribution activities intended to develop the next generation of personnel.

Cosponsoring the 8th National College Students Chemical Engineering Design Competition

Mitsui Chemicals cosponsored the 9th National College Students Chemical Engineering Design Competition in 2015, which it has done ever since the inaugural contest. The winning team was presented with the Tung Hua Technology-Mitsui Chemical Cup by Mitsui Chemicals and cosponsor Tung Hua Technology, a diversified engineering company in China.
This contest is popular with university chemical engineering majors in China, receiving 1,562 team entries (a total of 7,810 students) nationwide this year. Held at Changzhou University in Jiangsu Province on August 22-23, the 48 participating teams that made it to the finals fought a pitched battle for the title.
With the acclaim of this contest in the Chinese chemical industry increasing yearly, Mitsui Chemicals is contributing to Chinese society in the field of chemical engineering through its ongoing role as cosponsor.


Presentations being given during the contest finals

Exchange with Hope Elementary School in Anhui Province, China

As part of activities to celebrate the company's 10th anniversary in 2010, Mitsui Chemicals (China) Management Co., Ltd. (MCCN) donated the necessary funds to rebuild aging buildings at Hope Elementary School in Anhui Province in China, in conjunction with Mitsui Chemicals Head Office.
As well as providing ongoing support, Mitsui Chemicals donated laptop computers to the school in 2015.

The Mitsui Chemicals Group intends to keep on contributing to local areas in the future and to support the local community through interaction with Hope Elementary School students.


Hope Elementary School students

Cooperating in educator training by private-sector companies

The Keizai Koho Center was the main sponsor of the fiscal 2015 Experiential Study Programs for Teachers, which were held at the Head Office, Sodegaura Center, and Mobara Research and Development Center on August 5, 2015. This year, eight elementary school teachers from Chuo Ward schools participated in a three-day training program. This marked the tenth consecutive year that Mitsui Chemicals has welcomed educators for training.
At the Head Office, the educators listened to presentations about our corporate philosophy, responsible care initiatives, and human resource development. They also saw a demonstration of the laboratory class in the wonders of chemistry as a part of the introduction to our CSR activities. At Sodegaura Center and Mobara Research and Development Center, a tour of the works was given to explain the basics of manufacturing, while discussions covered safety measures. At the Plant Operation Technology Training Center, the educators participated in hands-on laboratory training. With education a point in common shared between the educators and the researchers, the educators and researchers had many fruitful conversations about their experiences, impressions and discoveries.
The educators, who were unfamiliar with the daily happenings of a materials maker like Mitsui Chemicals, were able to see first-hand the production of materials for the many products used in their daily lives, while learning about the steps taken to ensure safety, environmental protection and quality. The educators were impressed at the extent that a company would go to achieve these objectives.

In addition, we held a tour of the Mitsui Phenols Singapore factory for 12 Japanese high school teachers in Singapore on April 7. The tour was conducted to satisfy the curiosity of these teachers about what types of production activities are undertaken by Japanese companies in Singapore. Asking numerous questions during the Q&A session, the teachers enthusiastically learned about Mitsui Chemicals’ activities, products, and environment/safety initiatives.


A training session in Japan


Participants at training session conducted overseas