MetLife Foundation Ratan Opens as First Children’s 3rd Place in Unzen, Nagasaki“MetLife Foundation and The Nippon Foundation: ‘Better Life Better Place’ for the Elderly and Children” program
MetLife Insurance K.K. (“MetLife Japan”) and The Nippon Foundation held a ceremony on March 21 to mark the opening of MetLife Foundation Ratan in the city of Unzen in Nagasaki Prefecture. This is the first Children’s 3rd Place*1 to open in Unzen, as well as the first to open as part of the “MetLife Foundation and The Nippon Foundation: ‘Better Life Better Place’ for the Elderly and Children” program.*2
There is concern in Japan about widening financial and educational disparities among the children who represent the country’s next generation,*3 which is creating an urgent need to support children living in challenging circumstances. Children’s 3rd Places are places where children who face difficulties due to their home environment or for other reasons can spend their after-school hours with peace of mind. These places provide meals and instill study and daily living habits that children need to grow, as well as opportunities for a variety of experiences, while functioning as a “community education hub” in cooperation with the local community and specialist institutions.
MetLife Foundation Ratan will be operated by the NGO Single Parent Support Association Nagasaki, and will open from April. To cultivate children’s self-esteem and ability to interact with society, the facility will provide substantial support five days a week using a “permanent care” model in close cooperation with the local government, schools, social workers, and related organizations. The aim is to transfer operation of the program to the Unzen city government in three years. MetLife Japan employees will also support the children’s independence through a financial education program and other volunteer activities.
The “MetLife Foundation and The Nippon Foundation: ‘Better Life Better Place’ for the Elderly and Children” program is contributing to the creation of vibrant local communities by opening hospices for older people to spend the end of their lives in comfort and Children’s 3rd Places for children facing difficulty. Metlife Japan employees are also volunteering at facilities for children and older people set up by The Nippon Foundation across Japan to contribute to the creation of vibrant local communities. The aim is to address the issues of a super-ageing society and issues facing children to build a sustainable society in which no one is left behind.
- * 1 The Nippon Foundation has set up 143 Children’s 3rd Places across Japan (as of January 2023) as places that are neither school or home, where children who are likely to be left alone can spend their after-school hours with peace of mind, with friends and adults who can be trusted. To cultivate children who will grow up to be independent, the facilities operate using one of three models: a “permanent care model,” an “education and daily life support model,” and a “community model.”
- * 2 The “MetLife Foundation and The Nippon Foundation: ‘Better Life Better Place’ for the Elderly and Children” program was launched in September 2021 using a roughly 400-million-yen donation from the MetLife Foundation to The Nippon Foundation. The program intends to open a total of 12 hospices for older people and Children’s 3rd Places over three years.
- * 3 From “Survey of the Effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic on Educational Disparities,” conducted by The Nippon Foundation and Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting Co., Ltd.
Opening ceremony participants’ comments
Jumpei Sasakawa, Executive Director, The Nippon Foundation
In addition to NGOs, the local government, and other members of the local community, I would like to thank our partners the MetLife Foundation and MetLife Japan, who have provided such strong support.
MetLife Foundation Ratan is the first Children’s 3rd Place completed as part of the “MetLife Foundation and The Nippon Foundation: ‘Better Life Better Place’ for the Elderly and Children” program, and is also the 150th Children’s 3rd Place to open. Together we will continue to provide valuable places for children through this program.
Paul Miles, Executive Officer and Head of Corporate Affairs, Metlife Japan
In addition to the reliability and peace of mind we promise our customers, at MetLife we also consider it our mission to work closely with local communities to provide continuous value over the long term. Nagasaki is a very important place for our company, and we have been involved in a variety of activities here. At MetLife Foundation Ratan, our employees will help children grow up to be independent. We hope to contribute to the community and work together to create a brighter future for the next 50 and 100 years.
Teruko Fukuchi, President, Single Parent Support Association Nagasaki
Single Parent Support Association Nagasaki was created after World War II, and has been providing general support for the everyday lives of single-parent households for more than 70 years. During that time, we have worked with many different households through food support programs like kodomo shokudo (children’s cafeterias, which provide children with free or low-cost meals) and the Tsunagu BANK food bank, and we have felt that children need a new kind of place to spend time. Unzen is strengthening its support for households with children through programs including the Unzen City New Child Rearing Support Package, the Mimamori Kyoka project, and Tsunagu BANK, and here we hope to create another place where children can spend time with peace of mind.
Hidesaburo Kanazawa, Mayor of Unzen
This facility was built using the building of what was a day care center that cultivated local children’s growth for many years, but with a decline in the number of children using the facility closed in March of last year. Going forward, we will operate a Children’s 3rd Place Project in cooperation with MetLife Japan, The Nippon Foundation, and Single Parent Support Association Nagasaki. The city already has projects including the Unzen City New Child Rearing Support Package, which provides young people with seamless support from making acquaintances to marriage to child rearing, and this is our first time to be involved in the Children’s Third Place Project.
About MetLife Insurance K.K.
MetLife Japan started operations in 1973 as the first foreign life insurance company in Japan and currently operates as a Japanese corporation and an affiliate of MetLife, Inc., a leading global financial services company that aims to help people become more self-reliant and able to pursue more from life. MetLife Japan provides a broad, innovative range of products through diverse distribution channels to individual and institutional customers.
About MetLife Foundation
MetLife Foundation is committed to driving inclusive economic mobility for underserved and underrepresented communities around the world. The foundation collaborates with nonprofit organizations and provides grants aligned to three strategic focus areas – economic inclusion, financial health, and resilient communities – while engaging MetLife employee volunteers to help drive impact. MetLife Foundation was established in 1976 to continue MetLife’s long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Since 1976, MetLife Foundation has contributed over $900 million to strengthen communities where MetLife has a presence.
About Single Parent Support Association Nagasaki
Single Parent Support Association Nagasaki was established to support women who were widowed by World War II, and has been providing comprehensive support to single-parent households for more than 70 years. In recent years it has been operating a kodomo shokudo program and in 2019 set up the Tsunagu BANK to provide single-parent households facing financial difficulty with food that would otherwise be wasted. It provides outreach support in five cities in Nagasaki Prefecture with an emphasis on the three areas of food, consultation, and learning.
Public Relations Team
The Nippon Foundation
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