Sociocultural Support Activities

We are contributing to the sustainable development of local communities using technology and knowledge gained in business.

Basic Approach

Based on the Canon Group CSR Activity Policy, Canon Group operational sites around the world engage in activities tailored to the characteristics and issues of each region, by leveraging the Group’s advanced technological capabilities, global business development expertise, and diverse, specialized human resources.

Canon proactively gets involved in humanitarian aid activities such as providing medical supplies to regions with high poverty rates, by embracing its technologies from the medical business which Canon puts as a key strategy in Phase VI of the Corporation Plan and works to enhance competitiveness. Also, in the fields of imaging and printing, we conduct educational and cultural support activities in various countries and regions based on photography and printing by supplying products that utilize the optical and digital printing technologies we have cultivated over many years.

In terms of fostering development of the next generation, Canon supports the Children’s Rights and Business Principles formulated by UNICEF jointly with the United Nations Global Compact and Save the Children, and engages in social contribution activities to help protect the rights of children.

Moreover, social contribution managers at Group companies around the world regularly share information on such matters, while we actively use our intranet and social media platforms to share with employees information on Group activities, action on the SDGs, and other related topics as a way of promoting dynamic social contribution initiatives across the Group.

The 4E’s Project in India

Canon India carries out the 4E’s Project in cooperation with the NGO Humana People to People India. The project provides various forms of assistance in the four fields of eye care, education, environment, and empowerment to impoverished villages near to the Canon India offices.

Especially in the field of eye-care, Canon strives to provide improved medical assistance to the people with vision impairment by utilizing its technology from the Medical Group that Canon plans to further strengthen and expand its operation as part of the priority business strategy. In India, despite the fact that 80% of cataracts, a major cause of visual impairment, are believed to be preventable or treatable, the issue is lack of access to appropriate diagnostic or therapeutic care due to insufficiently developed healthcare infrastructure.

Canon India opens vision centers in selected villages to provide eye examinations using equipment made by Canon. A total of 4,650 people visited these centers in 2021, with 648 receiving free eyeglasses, and 190 patients being referred for treatment in hospital.

Eye testing at a vision center in India

Canon Young People Programme Harnesses the Power of Positive Visual Storytelling

Students participating in the Canon Young People Programme

As part of our contribution to the realization of a sustainable society, Canon Europe is developing the Canon Young People Programme (YPP), which aims to nurture the creativity and expression of the youth, as a regional initiative across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Based on the foundation of the SDGs, and working with local NPO partners, YPP aims to provide disadvantaged young people education and opportunities for creative expression through photographic and visual media. YPP has supported more than 5,000 young people since its launch in 2015. In 2021, YPP ran workshops both online and in-person in many countries, including UK, Russia, South Africa, DRC, Libya and also United Arab Emirates where the YPP workshops were held for the first time. YPP was also introduced at the United Nations’ SDG Global Festival of Action 2021 which Canon Europe participated in March, and showed that photographs and videos are very effective means of self-expression for young people against the global social issues that affect them.

Miraisha Programme Aims to Increase Employment Opportunities and Technical Skills in Africa

High youth unemployment is a severe problem in Africa. Moreover, while demand is increasing for photography, video production, and printing, most of this business is done by foreign companies because local skill levels often do not reach international standards. In response to this situation, Canon Europe has been promoting its Miraisha Programme, a social investment initiative in Africa. Miraisha is a portmanteau of the Japanese word mirai, meaning future, and the Swahili word maisha, meaning life. Through the program, Canon aims to improve the technical skills of and increase employment opportunities for local young people in Africa’s growing photography, video production, and print industries. Workshops in photography, film-making, and professional printing have been conducted in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, DRC, Uganda, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and other countries. Through partnerships with local organizations, educational institutions, event organizers, and with the assistance of Canon Ambassadors, the Miraisha Programme has so far provided training to more than 5,950 workshop participants. Canon has also organized a training program to develop local photographers and video producers as Canon-accredited trainers for the Miraisha Programme. As of the end of 2021, a total of 26 people had been accredited as Canon Certified Miraisha trainers, with three of these recruited as Canon Group employees.

Miraisha participants in Nairobi

Support for Education in Asia

Canon is helping to support the education of the next generation across Asia.

Respecting the right of every child to receive an education, we have set up ten Canon Hope Elementary Schools in China to provide a better educational environment through improved access to education.

The Canon Group in Vietnam is involved in building classrooms and donating items such as desks, chairs, and books. The support program targets schools in regions with lagging infrastructure development. Employees constantly visit recipient schools to assist in the renovation of toilets, hand washing stations, and other facilities, and to present donations of school supplies and other materials.

Meanwhile, the Canon Group in Thailand has continued with its program of voluntary activities at elementary schools. The program aims to build the skills of students while also helping them to cultivate a mindset for future economic independence. In 2021, more than 48 employees visited elementary schools to organize a wide range of activities, including classes in farming and cooking.

Elsewhere, Canon employees can make donations under a matching gift program. For example, since 1997 Canon Inc. has organized an annual Charity Book Fair to allow employees of the Canon Group in Japan to donate unwanted books, CDs and DVDs for sale at an in-house bazaar. The company matches the proceeds generated by the sale, and these funds are donated to organizations supporting education and medical services in Asian countries, including Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia.

Preserving Japanese Cultural Assets for the Future Through the Tsuzuri Project

Canon and Kyoto Culture Association (NPO) launched the Cultural Heritage Inheritance Project, commonly known as the Tsuzuri Project, in 2007.

In this project, high-resolution facsimiles are created, which are as faithful as possible to the original cultural assets, and then are donated and made public to museums, shrines, or temples associated with the original ones. For making a facsimile, the original artwork, which is valuable as a cultural property, such as folding screens and sliding doors, is first photographed with a digital camera, then high-precision color matching is performed with a proprietary system, and it is printed out by a large-format inkjet printer. Finally, the techniques of traditional Kyoto crafts such as gold leaf and mounting are added to complete the facsimile. This project contributes to the preservation and spread of Japanese culture by balancing the preservation of important Japanese cultural assets and the utilization of those facsimiles.

Exhibit at the Tokyo National Museum using a high-resolution facsimile of the National Treasure hanging scroll Kujaku Myo’o (Mahamayuri)

In 2021, the project donated high-resolution facsimiles of two works designated as National Treasures. A facsimile of Kujaku Myo’o (Mahamayuri; Tokyo National Museum collection) was donated to the National Institutes for Cultural Heritage, and a facsimile of The Wind and Thunder Gods by Tawaraya Sotatsu was donated to its owner, Kenninji Temple.

Moreover, in a joint research project with the National Center for the Promotion of Cultural Properties (CPCP) aimed at utilizing Japanese cultural properties by using high-resolution facsimiles, facsimiles of three works, including Maple Viewers by Kano Hideyori (National Treasure), were made. Along with other facsimiles donated by the Tsuzuri Project, these pieces played a prominent role in events such as “The Door to Japanese Art,” an interactive exhibition space hosted by the Tokyo National Museum.

Contributing to Society Through Rugby

Canon Inc. manages the Yokohama Canon Eagles, part of Japan’s Rugby League One, with the aim of creating and sharing thrilling experiences with sports fans and local residents through the sport of rugby.

As a social contribution activity targeting elementary, junior high, and high school students nationwide, the team holds career education classes and tag rugby workshops run by current Eagles players and staff. The goal is to contribute to the healthy development of children through rugby by letting them experience the importance of team play and the joy of physical activity.

In 2021, the team held career education classes and tag rugby workshops at 21 elementary schools, with a total of 1,650 students participating. Also, to support recovery efforts in the disaster-stricken Tohoku region, the team held a rugby clinic (classes and coaching) for junior high school students in Miyagi prefecture.

Supporting Research Activities that Contribute to the Sustainable Development of Humankind Through the Canon Foundation

The Canon Foundation was established in 2008 with the aim of contributing to the development of science and technology. Operating completely independently of Canon’s business activities, it provides assistance in a wide range of science and technology research fields.

The foundation’s aim has been to create new value for society by adopting an approach of supporting research that addresses cutting-edge fields of science and technology. Based on this concept, the foundation supports two research programs, focusing on the themes of “Science and Technology that Achieve a Good Future” and “Science and Technology that Create New Industries”.

Over the past 13 years, the Canon Foundation has disbursed a total of 192 research grants totaling ¥3.4 billion. The foundation enjoys recognition from universities and public research institutions across Japan as a distinctive research grant foundation which provides an average project grant of around ¥20 million—a relatively high amount mainly for fledgling research projects and young researchers just starting out.

Canon Institute for Global Studies, Dedicated to Conquering the Problems Faced by Humankind

The Canon Institute for Global Studies (CIGS) is a non-profit private-sector think tank established in 2008 as a general incorporated foundation in commemoration of Canon Inc.’s 70th anniversary.

CIGS brings together researchers with diverse backgrounds in business, academia, and government to exchange ideas and engage in global activities, seeking to analyze the current situation from the perspective of Japan’s position in the global community and provide strategic recommendations across a wide array of areas, including the global economy, foreign affairs and national security, and energy and the environment. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the institute actively disseminated information and made policy proposals through online events and research seminars.