October 23, 2014,15:30 +0900(JST)

Official Song for the Osaka Marathon

It is now less than one week before the Osaka Marathon takes off on October 26. The race course starts at Osaka Castle, and runs along Midosuji Boulevard and many other areas in the city of Osaka. This huge-scale marathon annually draws as many as 30,000 runners, as well as 1.2 million spectators rooting for runners along the route. Since 2012, I have served as chairman of the organizing committee for this event.

This marathon race attracts not only athlete runners and citizen runners, but also many well-known people such as Mr. Kentaro Kobuchi, a member of the popular musical duo, Kobukuro. He began participating in the race in 2012.

When I met Mr. Kobuchi, I asked him directly to make an official song for the marathon race. He willingly accepted the request and then composed the official song, called “42.195 km.”

It is a rhythmical song that you are sure to enjoy listening, especially while running. The Kansai dialect is used for the lyrics based on the dual themes of the marathon and Osaka. The lyrics will arouse sympathy from many people, and if you are from the Kansai region, you will definitely say “soya-soya” (“I agree”). Since this is a very encouraging song, whether you are from Kansai or not, you must have a listen!

Osaka Marathon Official Website (in English)

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October 23, 2014,15:00 +0900(JST)

Business Trip to the U.S.

From October 8 to 11, I went to the U.S. on business, my first trip there in many years.

The first purpose of the trip was to inspect a tungsten refining and recycling plant that has begun operation in Buffalo, New York. The next purpose was to attend the Inter-American Top Executives’ Conference, an annual meeting for top executives of our subsidiaries in the Americas. The final purpose was for me as chairman of the Osaka Marathon Organizing Committee to pay a courtesy visit to Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski of the Chicago Marathon, which has formed an alliance with the Osaka Marathon. The business trip’s schedule was thus very tight.

Business Trip to the U.S.

The Inter-American Top Executives’ Conference was attended by more than 50 people from 21 companies located in the U.S., Mexico, and Brazil. At the conference, the president of each company explained his/her company’s business results, future visions, and problems, which was followed by active discussions. Since everyone there was participating in the conference to obtain some guidance based on which they would take action, they engaged in the discussions very seriously. (All the participants at the conference spoke English, of course.)

While some companies boasted good business results, others suffered poor results. However, the conference made me clearly understand that despite a wide variety of problems, all the companies were making efforts to generate positive results. This very significant conference has made me realize that a free and frank exchange of opinions is the foundation for our growth.

With Osaka Marathon staff and runners dispatched from OsakaMeanwhile, the Chicago Marathon held on the 12th drew 45,000 runners, making the event even more spectacular than ever. Although, I could not observe the race in person due to my schedule, I heard that the first, second and third places in the men’s race were won by runners from Kenya, all of whom finished under 2 hours and 5 minutes. When a marathon race was held in Berlin recently, the winner marked a new world record of under 2 hours and 3 minutes. Therefore, I’m no longer surprised to hear that runners finish their races under 2 hours and 5 minutes, although this makes me aware of the big gap with Japanese athletes. I hope that Japanese runners will energize themselves.

The Osaka Marathon will be held on October 26. I ask for your wholehearted support for the event.

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October 8, 2014,10:35 +0900(JST)

At Autumn Ceremony to Welcome New Staff

The other day (on October 1), we held an autumn ceremony to welcome new staff. Compared with the ceremony held in spring, the number of participants was smaller, less than 30. However, since the participants in the autumn ceremony were all seated closer to us than in the spring one, we were able to see their faces more clearly, showing mixed feelings of self-confidence, hope, anxiety, and nervousness.

Staff joining us in and after April participated in the ceremony

Every time I attend a ceremony to welcome new staff, I speak about how we should work at our jobs. Although there are some differences in detail, the basic concept is always the same. At the autumn ceremony this year, I again explained the Sumitomo Business Spirit, focusing on the key phrases of “Banji-nissei” (do your sincere best in not only business but also every aspect of your life), “Shinyo-kakujitsu” (place prime importance on integrity and sound management), and “Fusu-furi” (do not act rashly or carelessly in pursuit of easy gains). Since I have mentioned these phrases several times before in this blog, some of you may already know about them.

Subsequently, I spoke about the significance of “illuminating a small corner of society.” It is reported that this is a phrase by the Japanese Buddhist monk Saicho. It is not so often that products manufactured by us, a B2B business operator, capture the spotlight. However, even though we don’t draw much attention from the general public, we have a mission to supply products that are an essential part of society. In this sense, we must always work hard to “illuminate a small corner of society.” Even if the job seems simple and unspectacular, we must do our best without forgetting the importance of the basics, and take pride in our work as professionals. To deliver these messages, I cited the monk’s phrase and encouraged the young staff.

I concluded my speech by emphasizing the importance of communication. The Sumitomo Electric Group, which consists of more than 220,000 staff all over the world, is sustained by close communication among staff regardless of their age, position and background. To secure such communication, it is, of course, necessary to improve language skills. When I said this, the young staff seemed to have a feeling of tension and determination.

I hope that they will take care of their health, and work very hard.

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September 22, 2014,15:25 +0900(JST)

At the LME Party

On September 10, a London Metal Exchange (LME) seminar was held in Tokyo. Since I had been invited to the seminar as Chairman of the Japanese Electric Wire & Cable Makers’ Association, I flew to Haneda after conducting business in Osaka in the morning, and attended the party held in the evening at the official residence of the British Ambassador to Japan.

The party drew about 200 people, including those involved in related industries. The event began with an excellent speech by his Excellency Mr. Tim Hitchens in fluent Japanese. Following LME CEO Garry Jones, I was called on to deliver a speech as the Chairman of the Japanese Electric Wire & Cable Makers’ Association.

I am on the far right, delivering the speech

With LME CEO Garry JonesAs I have mentioned several times before in this blog, the LME is extremely important to copper processors. The prices of most copper raw materials that we procure are based on prices determined by the LME. A basic premise for our business is that copper prices are determined fairly and appropriately. These days, however, there is a growing trend in which copper is treated not for industrial use, but as a financial product, causing price fluctuations. This is having a serious effect on copper processors. LME’s original purpose of providing sound opportunities for metal trading is being lost.

I served as the Chairman of the International Wrought Copper Council (IWCC) until this May. At the IWCC, I ensured that the above issue was discussed thoroughly, and I made every effort to secure an opportunity for the IWCC and the LME to exchange opinions frankly. I believe that I put a process in motion to solve the problem, before passing the baton on to the next chairman. Our effort has just begun, but if we have closer communication between related parties and promote efforts seriously to solve the problem, I am convinced that “after rain will come fair weather.” Heavy rain, which we had on the day of the event, is sure to be followed by beautiful weather.

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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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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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