September 16, 2014,08:40 +0900(JST)

Watching the Kinki Championships in Athletics

On September 7, I went to the Kimiidera Athletic Stadium in Wakayama, to watch the Kinki Championships in Athletics.

This meet is held in turn by the athletics association of each prefecture in the Kinki region. This year, the event was held in Wakayama Prefecture for two days, September 6 and 7. The competitors in the Kinki Championships in Athletics are athletes who performed well in their events in the preliminary meets held in each prefecture in the Kinki region. This regional meet is an important event that serves as the preliminary for the Japan Championships in Athletics.

Although it was already September, the sunlight was still strong and the temperature was hitting 30°C, making the conditions rather tough. Nevertheless, athletes demonstrated outstanding performances with their fullest strength, drawing cheers from spectators in the stands. Such athletes included many members of Sumitomo Electric’s athletics club who had won at the Hyogo prefectural preliminary meet. At many events, including individual events and relays, they achieved high rankings, including first place; some members established new meet records, too.

Some competitors at the meet were high school students. I hope that among such young athletes, as well as among members of our athletics club, are those who are competent enough to make a spectacular showing at the next Rio de Janeiro Olympics, as well as at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

Watching the games from the stadium stands

Yusuke Kotani (in front) and Shintaro Horie, both members of our athletic club, sprinting in the men’s 200 m

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September 10, 2014,11:50 +0900(JST)

Come on, Global Leaders!

 At the end of August, we held a couple of events in succession, inviting staff from some of our affiliated companies both in Japan and abroad.

On August 27 to 29, we held the Global Leadership Program (GLP), which I have mentioned before in this blog. The program drew a total of 34 participants, comprising 14 from affiliated companies in China, South Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia and Hungary, and 20 Japanese managers.

Also, on the 29th, we invited executive officers and executive managers from foreign affiliated companies who were recognized as Group Global Executive Personnel this April to attend a meeting at which we shared our business spirit and business policies.

At a meeting for Group Global Executive PersonnelAfter our establishment in 1897, we were a typical “Japanese” company for a long time. Since the conclusion of the Plaza Agreement in 1985, however, we have continued to seek the optimum business style by trial and error, in order to adapt to a drastically changing economic environment. We have now become a corporate group comprising about 500 companies around the world, with the total number of employees far surpassing 200,000. Currently, approximately 80% of our staff work at foreign-affiliated companies, which generate more than half of the entire group’s sales and profits.

In this situation, in order to achieve continuous development, it is imperative for the Sumitomo Electric Group to secure a wide variety of competent human resources, whether from Japan or abroad, and to provide an environment where they can demonstrate their capabilities on a higher level. In this regard, in 2011, we established the Global HRM Policy as the basic policy for our HR management. Since then, we have been striving to prepare an HR system design to be shared throughout the entire Sumitomo Electric Group on a global scale, with a view to assigning the right person to the right positions all over the world, and establishing organizations with diversity and high adaptability.

Report meeting at the GLPThis April, we finally reached the first phase where 24 foreign employees were recognized as Group Global Executive Personnel. Our strategy is to provide them with assignments and opportunities to demonstrate their capabilities, to evaluate them based on common standards, to give appropriate treatment to employees who have attained favorable results, and to provide such employees with assignments of a higher level. We hope that through this cycle, a systematic development of executive managers will be achieved. This time, foreign members were appointed as the first batch of Group Global Executive Personnel, however, we would like to extend the scope of such appointments to Sumitomo Electric and other Japanese companies of the Sumitomo Electric Group in an early time.

Joint get-together for participants of the meeting for Group Global Executives and the GLPI also explained this system to participants in the GLP, which I mentioned earlier. I asked them to work hard with consideration given to 1) What to do as a leader, and then 2) What to do in order to demonstrate their capabilities on a global scale. I encouraged them to adopt this two-phase approach, and make continuous efforts in friendly rivalry with each other in order to be selected as Group Global Executive Personnel, without pursuing their own interests. We would like to make the system an opportunity for competent and enthusiastic staff to try new things.

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September 1, 2014,11:10 +0900(JST)

Minister Amari Visits Yokohama Works to Observe Redox Flow Battery

On August 21, Minister Akira Amari in charge of Economic Revitalization, who also serves as the Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy, visited our Yokohama Works to observe a redox flow battery. On the day of the visit, I went to the Yokohama Works 45 minutes before his scheduled arrival, and confirmed with the staff in charge the arrangements for welcoming the minister, when we were notified that he would arrive about 30 minutes earlier than scheduled. We welcomed him with a fair amount of haste.

When he arrived at the works, the minister was smiling. Once we began our explanation, however, he took notes with a serious look from beginning to end. Asking important questions, he looked as if he were marshalling his thoughts.

Minister Amari (front, second from left). I am on the far right.

I was surprised that he was asking very in-depth questions, such as regarding global trends in the development of renewable energy technology, comparisons between other secondary batteries, and patent strategies. He said that he had recently visited the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany while the Diet was out of session. He went to the applied research institute, which connects basic research at universities with actual business at companies, on the recognition that the activation of research and development and improving its efficiency are necessary in order to realize the growth strategy of “Abenomics.”

In front of the redox flow battery

After observing the redox flow battery, the minister was interviewed by the media accompanying him. He said that his visit had made him recognize that a redox flow battery could not be commercialized without advanced Japanese manufacturing technology. He continued to say that the national government would like to promote technological development of the battery, as well as business development in foreign countries. This would be very helpful. He was taking notes even of the challenges regarding commercialization, which means that we cannot make a botch of things. To live up to his expectations, we plan to accelerate our development and commercialization of the redox flow battery.

It was so hot on this day that I was worried that my suit would be scorched. It must have been tough for the staff members of the Cabinet Office who made arrangements for the minister’s visit, the security staff, and the staff members of Sumitomo Electric who were in charge of the visit. I would like to once again express my appreciation to them all.

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August 21, 2014,14:15 +0900(JST)

Business Results for the First Quarter of FY 2014

On July 31, we announced our business results for the first quarter (April-June) for the first quarter of fiscal 2014 as follows: sales of 638.2 billion yen; operating income of 21.8 billion yen; ordinary income of 29.8 billion yen; and net income of 26.9 billion yen. We achieved an increase in both revenue and profit compared with the same period of the previous year. However, there were differences in the results among our various business groups. I instructed each business group to once again analyze the relevant factors and take appropriate measures.

The following day I attended a Partners’ Meeting, to which we invited our business partners who always support us in the procurement of materials and equipment. As in previous years, the meeting again drew many participants from both Japan and overseas. This year marked the seventh anniversary of this event. Every time I attend a Partners’ Meeting I keenly realize that we receive support and cooperation from many partners.


At the party held after every meeting, the participants let me know some useful information on various topics, or give me lectures. All this serves as an invaluable barometer for the future of the Sumitomo Electric Group. This year, the participants generally seemed to be in a cheerful mood, making me feel confident about our future.

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July 31, 2014,15:49 +0900(JST)

10th Anniversary of Executive Training Program

At the end of last week, in order to attend the kick-off meeting of an executive training program Action Learning, I stayed at our seminar facility on Mt. Ikoma, on the border between Osaka and Nara Prefectures. The program was launched in 2005, marking its 10th anniversary this year. The program annually draws 40 to 50 executive managers from our various divisions and our domestic and foreign affiliated companies. More than 400 people in total have participated in the program so far.

Although the program certainly includes a several-day lecture-oriented seminar, the main part is a half-year activity called “action learning.” In this session, participants are divided into teams, each consisting of five to six persons. The teams are required to work on provided themes regarding actual management, and to submit solutions. Since participants are divided into teams randomly on purpose, many of them need to struggle with themes that are outside their fields. There has been no change in this style since the program was first launched.

Giving a lecture to participants.

It is difficult to explain this program’s specific effects. However, there are quite a few of proposals and ideas incorporated into our management policies directly or indirectly. In addition, since many participants tend to consider issues only from their divisions’ perspectives, the program is very effective in helping them to learn about the situation of the entire Sumitomo Electric Group and to share the group’s management challenges.

What types of proposals will the nine teams this year submit? Based on my past experience, proposals that were completed after much legwork were most convincing. Some proposals were helpful enough to provide management with new perspectives (even though proposals may have hit sore spots). At the start of this year, I requested all company staff members to realize the idea of “creative destruction.” I hope that this year’s teams come up with many bold ideas that will help achieve this idea. I look forward to hearing the teams’ presentations at the end of the year.

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The president's photographProfile

Masayoshi Matsumoto
President & CEO
Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd.

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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