Table Speech

Development of Hourly Parking Business over 20 Years and its Future Prospects

September 27, 2017

Mr. Takakazu Ando
Executive Managing Director,
Kanefuji Co., Ltd.

 I work in two businesses, Kanefuji Co., Ltd. specialized in interior and refurbishment works as well as Partners Inc. which runs the hourly parking garage. When I launched Partners Inc. 20 years ago, the late Mr. Kiyoshi Nishikawa who had founded Park24 Co., Ltd. kindly shared the goodwill that enabled business continuity even in times of hardship.

 I have gone through three major crises over the past two decades. Firstly, the circulation of counterfeit 500-yen coins caused us financial loss. South Korean 500-won coins, roughly one-tenth the value of the 500-yen coin, could be easily modified to the exact weight of the 500-yen coin and we ended up collecting more than 300 of such modified coins in a day at the worst time. Parking fee adjustment machines are upgraded today for better security and allow payment by banknotes as well as credit cards. The second crisis was triggered when a special-feature program was aired on TV highlighting our new business model with detailed explanation on improper exits. We witnessed a dramatic increase in such fraudulent acts which again caused us an enormous financial damage. I realized how influential TV programs can be, both in a positive and negative way. Today, there are many surveillance cameras installed to prevent such wrongdoings. I must say the most serious crisis was caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake that claimed so many precious lives. Its impact on our business was twofold. Firstly, a gas shortage which lasted for a few weeks after the Earthquake kept people from driving and using parking lots. And secondly, we had to make the parking lots admission-free and open for a few hours each day as rolling blackouts caused by electric power shortage could block entry to or exit from the parking.

 Our business has two client bases. One is the parking lot users who pay the parking fee and the other is landowners who rent-out their land which is indispensable for our business growth. Currently, I have business contacts with about 100 landowners and offer them financial planning advice, including construction and renovation of buildings, land transactions and inheritance issues. Lastly, we are about to launch a new business of car sharing by formulating a system that allows you to pick up and drop off cars at every Times24 parking lot. We will strive to offer new services that will make society more convenient in the emerging mobility era. I hope to gain valuable experience as a Rotarian to broaden my horizons in both my professional and personal life. Thank you.