April 17, 2015,13:00 +0900(JST) Inari Festival in the Rain

Every year on the first Sunday in April, to mark the anniversary of the founding of Sumitomo Electric, we celebrate the Inari Festival at all our works in Japan -- "Inari" is a deity that concerns the agriculture, commerce and industry. This year, I attended the festival held at the Itami Works.

Although it had begun getting warmer and warmer in the previous week, it rained and was cold on the day of the event, as the weather forecast had predicted. While it rained gently in the morning, it started raining heavily some time after the Shinto ritual began. The sound of the strong rain beating on our tent almost prevented us from hearing the voice of the Shinto priest reciting the prayer.

I remember that it was cold at the Inari Festival last year and the year before that as well. This year again it was chilly. I'm sure there is a deity that has the power to control the weather, and so I assume there must have been some reason for this. Still, it's a pity that the cherry blossoms in full bloom on the grounds of the works were being battered by the strong rain and that some of them were falling.

April 17, 2015,11:40 +0900(JST) Spring Ceremony to Welcome and Encourage New Staff Members

This year again we welcomed new staff members. The ceremony held on April 1 to welcome and encourage them was attended by a total of about 300 people, including those who just graduated from school this spring and those who had joined us since last autumn.

At the ceremony, I asked the attendees to do the following three things: (1) master the basics of their work and follow them conscientiously; (2) strive to become professionals through constant efforts to improve and develop themselves; and (3) take great care with their communication with others. Of particular note is (1), which is the very first thing that I have referred to in the ceremonies held over the past few years to welcome and encourage new employees.

Although only small jobs will be assigned to new employees at first, I hope that they will work conscientiously and always do their best. We cannot allocate big jobs without worry to those who cannot complete small jobs in a way faithful to the basics. I would like new employees to complete their designated assignments steadily and build up their achievements step by step.

Seeing young people working earnestly provides a stimulus to senior staff like me. It reminds us of the pure passion that we had when we were young, which motivates us to carry out our daily responsibilities with a fresh perspective.

March 31, 2015,16:05 +0900(JST) Yasuyuki Watanabe to Join Sumitomo Electric

It has been decided that Mr. Yasuyuki Watanabe will join Sumitomo Electric and work as an instructor for our athletics club. He will resign his post as the ekiden race coach of Waseda University's athletics club at the end of this month. On March 19, in Tokyo, I attended a press conference together with Mr. Watanabe.

Yasuyuki Watanabe to Join Sumitomo Electric

Hoping to contribute to the promotion of sports as part of our social contribution efforts, Sumitomo Electric focuses on athletics. Thanks to the support of all of you, our athletics club was able to compete in the New Year Ekiden both last year and this year. In addition, we provide sponsorship for the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon and the Osaka Marathon. Moreover, I serve as the President of the Osaka Association of All Athletics.

With this as a background, I had an opportunity to talk with Mr. Watanabe. He has been a star in the world of Japanese long-distance races, both before his retirement as an active runner and after beginning to work as a coach. Therefore, before we met I knew of him, though he may not have known of me. When we met directly and talked with each other, we found that we shared many of the same views in terms of how to nurture athletes, making our conversation even more exciting. Afterwards, I learned that he would be leaving Waseda's athletics club, and I invited him to join Sumitomo Electric.

Yasuyuki Watanabe to Join Sumitomo Electric

On the 19th, when we held our press conference, another press conference was being held to announce the members of the men's national soccer team at almost the same time. However, our conference drew about 40 media representatives, and the news of Mr. Watanabe joining us was widely reported in the newspapers and on the Internet. This has made me feel once again that there are high expectations for Mr. Watanabe.

Our athletics club is still a newcomer in the world of athletics. At the press conference, Mr. Watanabe said that he would make a start as a marathon instructor from scratch. However, this suggests to me that he will nurture marathon runners through reasonable and scientific methods based on cutting-edge training theories, rather than sticking to past methods and customs.

In the world of Japanese marathon running, a new record has not been set since 2002, when there was still a possibility that Japanese runners could be competitive with top-level foreign runners. Since then, however, the speed of the world's runners has been becoming faster and faster, leading to the world record being reduced by nearly three minutes. On the other hand, in the list of the all-time 10 best results of Japanese runners, only three records have been set in the past 10 years. Hearing this, I feel that it is of vital performance for us to try new methods. I would be very pleased if people are able to say that "Sumitomo Electric is doing something fun" in the first phase, then say "Sumitomo Electric has changed instruction methods in the world of Japanese athletics," and finally, if the new methods are able to produce Japanese marathon runners who can compete successfully on the global stage.

Nevertheless, human resources development is much like a marathon race. It takes a lot of time, and it is often necessary to consider what should be done while the relevant project is on the move. I would like to ask for your support for our athletics club from a long-term perspective.

Yasuyuki Watanabe to Join Sumitomo Electric

March 25, 2015,10:00 +0900(JST) Graduation Ceremony of Kansai University of Nursing and Health Sciences

Partly because I was born on Awaji Island, I serve as the chairperson of the supporters' association for Kansai University of Nursing and Health Sciences, which is located on the island. The other day, I was invited to the university's graduation ceremony, where I delivered a message to the young people who were about to leave the school. I would like to share part of that message with you.

When I graduated from university, I was advised by one of my instructors as follows: "After you begin work, you will be occupied with your work almost all the time, other than when you are sleeping. So, if you cannot enjoy your work, it follows that you won't enjoy your life itself. It's important to consider what you should do to make your work exciting, and take action."

What should we do to enjoy working?

At the graduation ceremony, I first advised students to fully prepare for everything. Looking back at my career, I find that I have dealt with difficult jobs one after another. If I have made full preparations to the level which I believe to be satisfactory, strangely enough, I have felt encouraged to try harder. In addition, by always trying to make sufficient preparations, I have obtained the trust of people around me.

I also shared with students an episode with the late Masao Kamei, a former president of Sumitomo Electric. While I was accompanying him on an overseas business trip, he told me that wisdom was generated especially in difficult times. If something bad happens, some people tend to give up too soon, saying, "It's over." If things don't go as planned, people sometimes feel discouraged. Every time I feel that way, I tell myself not to become defeated and to remember that wisdom is generated especially in difficult times. This is how I have developed my career to this day.

I assume that nursing and medical care entail a wide variety of problems. However, they are important services that people cannot do without in their daily lives. I hope that each of the university's graduates will be proud of being involved in such vital services. I also hope that they will consider what they should do to enjoy their jobs and find their own styles to do so after a lot of trial and error. I look forward to seeing these young people fully demonstrating their capabilities to society.

March 25, 2015,09:30 +0900(JST) Seminars for Those Promoted to New Positions

Throughout your career, you will experience various important turning points, such as a change in your responsibilities, relocation to a different department or work place, or being transferred to a different company. Added to these are promotions. At Sumitomo Electric, January every year is the time for promotions. During the period from January to around March, we hold seminars for those promoted to new positions, according to the level of the position.

Seminars for Those Promoted to New PositionsThese seminars cover an extensive range of topics, from safety, human rights, compliance with laws and regulations, and diversity, to management strategies. All the topics are those that must be confirmed once again by those promoted to new positions. At the end of these seminars, members of our management share their experiences with the participants. Actually, I deliver messages for new division managers and new section managers every year.

Seminars for Those Promoted to New PositionsI have so many things that I would like to talk about to people who will lead the next generation, although I need to speak within a limited time. So this year, I spoke about several points that I always feel to be important. Specifically, I focused on the importance of communication, the principle of the "three actuals," expectations for leaders, having an awareness of human resource development, the necessity of creative work, and the significance of the liberal arts. Eventually, my message covered an extensive range of topics. Although I frequently refer to these topics, I expect the seminar participants to consider them once again and take action.

As usual, after the seminar, a friendly meeting was held involving the seminar's lecturers, participants, and the management of our company. This was the first time that some participants had spoken with me directly. In addition, for me, this was an invaluable opportunity to learn directly about what is happening on the front line of the company, ranging from the current situation of new technology development to the atmosphere at each workplace.

SUMITOMO ELECTRIC President CEO Masayoshi Matsumoto

Born in 1944 in Hyogo Prefecture, Masayoshi Matsumoto joined Sumitomo Electric in 1967. After serving as General Manager of Chubu District Office, Managing Director and Senior Managing Director, he assumed office of President and CEO in June 2004.

His leisure activities include jogging, reading and art appreciation. Also a seasoned athlete, he played baseball in junior high school and practiced judo in senior high school. In university, he threw the javelin competitively and participated in all-Japan inter-university competitions.

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