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An open letter to our employees and the community about the closure of Keiro Northwest

September 17, 2019


To our valued employees, customers, partners and community members:

From its earliest days over ninety years ago, Uwajimaya and the Moriguchi family have been deeply committed to building a strong community and helping those in need. My grandparents were known to offer a meal, job or even a place to stay to any Japanese immigrant who showed up at their doors in need even though they themselves were barely scraping by. Giving back to the community and taking care of others were fundamental family and business values that have been passed down over the generations. Today, Uwajimaya and the Moriguchi family remain just as committed to these values.

Over forty years ago, my father and former Uwajimaya CEO Tomio Moriguchi, along with six others known as the “Keiro Magnificent 7,” recognized the unmet need of providing care for our aging issei, or first generation Japanese-Americans. Together they took action and fully committed their time, dollars, blood, sweat and tears to build Nikkei Concerns (now known as Keiro Northwest) and ensure our elders received the care and respect they deserved.

Uwajimaya and the Moriguchi family have continued their strong support of Keiro since the organization’s founding through countless volunteer hours and significant financial contributions. Just two years ago, my brother and I chaired the Keiro Northwest Lunar New Year Auction with Uwajimaya as a Diamond Sponsor. We were honored to support the organization that our father helped build and that has cared so well for our community’s elders including our grandmother and great-aunt.

Given this history with Keiro, our entire family was heartbroken to hear of Keiro’s recent closure. As Uwajimaya has never had any involvement with the strategic, operational or financial decisions of Keiro, it is hard to know what could have been done differently to prevent such a fate for Keiro. However, I do know that now is not the time to point fingers and tear apart the community but would call on all of us to wrap our collective arms around our seniors, keep them close to us and look for ways to support each other and our families. Now is the time for us to stay together, understand our responsibility to love and care for our seniors and work together to overcome this difficult situation. As always, Uwajimaya and the Moriguchi family are willing to help and are open to suggestions or thoughts about specific ways to help care for our community’s elders. Feel free to email me at communication@uwajimaya.com.

Sincerely,
Denise Moriguchi
President and CEO
Uwajimaya Inc.

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