The Footprints of Aso

Iizuka Chamber of Commerce and Industry

THE FOOTPRINTS OF ASO - WITHIN THE LOCAL COMMUNITY

Iizuka Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Chambers of commerce and industry, which are established throughout Japan, are member organizations created to revitalize local economies. The history of the Iizuka Chamber of Commerce and Industry is old, and it celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2008 (Heisei 20).

The Iizuka Commerce Association, the predecessor of the Iizuka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was established in December 1908 (Meiji 21). It was the period when the population increased and the size of the town expanded due to the increase in coal production. There was strong momentum to further develop the area through cooperation between merchants and industrialists, which resulted in the birth of the Commerce Association.

1927 (Showa 2) brought the enactment of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Act, which stated that chambers of commerce and industry throughout Japan must strengthen the organization by establishing divisions and committees and established the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry as the central organization. In the Chikuho region, too, there were many activities that were not possible as a commerce association, and many people hoped for the establishment of a chamber of commerce and industry. However, under the act, a chamber of commerce and industry could not be set up in a town. The members of the Commerce Association began working to transform the town into a city.

In 1932 (Showa 7), Iizuka was given its long-awaited city status, and the next year in 1933 (Showa 8) the Commerce Association was transformed into the Iizuka Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Takichi's son-in-law Yoshinosuke Aso, who was also director of Aso Shoten Co., Ltd., assumed the position as the first chairman of the Iizuka Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry started conducting activities proactively as soon as it came into existence. It contributed to the development of the local community through work on a wide range of activities such as holding service days at the local merchants' association, offering express mail services, supporting air defense exhibitions, issuing tourism brochures, and holding accounting and typing certification tests.

During World War II, the local economy was also governed by the central government, such as the introduction of a rationing system for daily commodities, and in September 1943 (Showa 18), the Iizuka Chamber of Commerce and Industry was dissolved. It became part of the Fukuoka Chamber of Commerce and Industry Joint Association, but it was restarted in 1946 (Showa 21) after the war had ended.

When the Iizuka Chamber of Commerce was restarted, an establishment preparation committee was organized by the former chamber head Mr. Saburo Kanamoto and others, and Takakichi Aso, president of Aso Mining Co., Ltd., was selected as the next chairman. Takakichi was the chairman for 34 years until he passed away in 1980 (Showa 55). During his service, he tirelessly worked to overcome the poor coal economy and worked on various issues such as inviting the Self Defense Force to establish a garrison, inviting Kinki University and Kyushu Institute of Technology to build schools, and organizing the transportation systems including railroads and roads. He also worked on cultural activities such as restarting the Iizuka Firework Festival, which was prohibited during the war, and holding music concerts. When the chamber of commerce and industry was struggling financially after the war, Takakichi secretly used his own money to pay the employees' salaries.

Mr. Kiyoshi Hanamura served as the chairman for 10 years as the predecessor of Takakichi, and Taro Aso became the 4th chairman in 1990 (Heisei 2). From 1997 (Heisei 9), Yutaka Aso assumed his current position as the 5th chairman.

The Iizuka Chamber of Commerce and Industry continues to support the development of Iizuka and the Chikuho region by carrying out a variety of activities such as inviting corporations, holding events such as the Iizuka International Wheelchair Tennis Championships and the "Chikuzen Iizuka Hiina Festival," maintaining streets, opening the house of Denemon Ito to the public, and restoring the Kaho Gekijyo Theater.

* The photo materials were obtained from "A 100-year History of the Iizuka Chamber of Commerce and Industry"

Iizuka Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Address:
Yoshiharacho 6-12, Iizuka-shi, Fukuoka-ken
Telephone:
0948-22-1007
http://www.iizuka-cci.org/
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