April 24, 2008,10:00 +0900(JST) Inari Festival (2)

The Inari Festival (celebration of the anniversary of Sumitomo Electric’s founding) coincides with the cherry blossom-viewing season in Japan. On festival day, Someiyoshino cherry trees on and around the premises of Osaka, Itami and Yokohama Works are usually in full bloom. So we organize a variety of attractions in areas that are particularly suited for cherry blossom viewing, and invite employees and their families and local community leaders, as part of our CSR activities.

Scene of lottery crowded with visitorsWe also set up food and beverage stalls, and offer sacred sake. The main features of the Inari Festival are, quite naturally, cherry blossoms and visitors.

I think our Works are in fact great places to enjoy a relaxing Sunday viewing cherry blossoms, since the space never get as crowded as some other cherry blossom-viewing venues.

The Works arrange their own distinctive and enjoyable programs, offering attractions for small children and for adults, organizing various games such as bingo, quiz and bazaar. If you live near one of our Works, please come and enjoy the next Inari Festival with us.

Kid-friendly attractionAs for me, I also had a very pleasant day, enjoying the fine spring weather and the dances of cherry blossom petals on gentle breezes. Perhaps that’s why I “purified myself” a little too much with the sacred sake…

In any case, the Inari Festival is our traditional event, and I hope that it will be preserved by future generations. Although its form may change along with the times, I hope that its spirit will remain unchanged.

April 21, 2008,09:11 +0900(JST) Inari Festival (First Sunday of April)

The House of Sumitomo has a history of over 400 years. Sumitomo Electric itself also has a long history, of 111 years. As a company that has evolved while handling mainly electric wires, an important element of Sumitomo’s copper business, Sumitomo Electric has rich tradition of which we can be proud. It is our mission, I believe, to let new flowers bloom on this solid foundation that Sumitomo Electric’s elders have laid out. I hope to move forward doing my very best toward this mission.

Inari festival siteTo depart from the introductory solemnity, I’d like to tell you about the Inari Festival (Inari is one of the Shinto gods), which we celebrate on the first Sunday of April each year. The anniversary of the company’s founding is April 1, and we hold the Inari Festival to mark this date and pray for safety.

In our day-to-day operations, and on the work sites in particular, we try to keep in mind at all times that in “SEQCDD,” safety (S) comes first, and take thorough measures to ensure safety. Yet we also know that something unexpected can occur in equipment and human behavior that compromises safety. We therefore continue doing everything we can to minimize and, if possible, eliminate safety risks; we also turn to prayers in all sincerity.

The Inari Festival is celebrated at various venues, including Sumitomo Electric Group companies. Within Sumitomo Electric, it is held at the three Works (Osaka, Itami and Yokohama). In the ceremonial part of the Festival, participants offer prayers for safety to the Inari Shrine erected on the premises of each of the Works.

Offering sprig of sacred sakaki tree in front of shrine altarEvery year I go to one of the Works, to serve as the master of ceremonies. This year, I went to Osaka Works. In a solemn atmosphere, I offered my prayer for safety to the deity Inari with a branch of a sacred tree, according to the Shinto customs.

Inari is generally considered the deity presiding over good harvests of grain and commercial success, but my prayers, which I offered to both Inari and its sacred messenger fox, were particularly for the safety of the Sumitomo Electric Group.

I’d like to write about the other half of the Festival, the celebration of Sumitomo Electric’s founding anniversary, in another entry.

April 11, 2008,09:17 +0900(JST) QCD Improvement and a Stronger Corporate Constitution

In an earlier entry, I asked Sumitomo Electric Group people to strive to improve quality in all the strategic aspects of SEQCDD in our business activities, SEQCDD standing for Safety, Environment, Quality, Cost, Delivery and Development.

Specific goals for SEQCDD improvement have been set (concerning organizational structure, goal setting, tracing and tracking methods, time schedule, incentives, standardization of definitions, etc.) and promoted as all-participatory campaigns. I believe I have tried to encourage personnel participation, and positive results have been generated, although somewhat slowly.

As the new business year has begun, I feel that we can make further efforts in many areas. With regard to QCD (Quality, Cost and Delivery), in particular, which are closely related with our dealings with customers, we should devise more specific measures and make greater efforts.

The new business year is the starting year of VISION 2012. On our way to achieving the goals of this new mid-term business plan, we must produce results that are appropriate for the inaugural year of VISION 2012.

The world situation is still full of uncertainties: higher material prices, unstable exchange rates, the US economic decline triggered by the subprime crisis, unclear political situations in many countries, including Japan… Many other phenomena and incidents can adversely affect the Sumitomo Electric Group’s business.

Under such circumstances, it is vitally important that we protect and solidify our own foundation above all, by further improving QCD and strengthening our corporate constitution.

As I said at the last management conference and on other occasions, I would very much like to see each one of the Sumitomo Electric Group people understand the QCD improvement goals of their workplaces and work in same directions to achieve them as quickly as possible.

In this challenging situation, there is no time to waste. Let all of us of the Sumitomo Electric Group move forward as one, to tackle thorough QCD improvement and achieve the ultimate goal of QCD improvement: perfection.

April 8, 2008,08:48 +0900(JST) Switch Campaign

I’d like to address today’s entry mainly to Sumitomo Electric Group people.

In April, Sumitomo Electric launched a new corporate-wide campaign called the Switch Campaign. Sumitomo Electric Group people must already be informed of this campaign, since relevant information was addressed in the announcement on April 1 and published in the in-house newsletter.

The main objectives of this new corporate-wide campaign are to realize a good balance of work and private time and make our workplace environment livelier through effective working hour management.
Sumitomo Electric people are known to work hard, with a strong sense of responsibility. At the same time, it is known that in some workplaces, long overtime hours have become the norm, or it is difficult to take paid holidays. Yet, to remain lively and proactive at work, it is vital to maintain a good balance between work and private time, and to enrich both.

Therefore, the aim of the Switch Campaign is to adopt an efficient mode of working so as to improve the quality of both working and private lives.

More specifically, the Campaign encourages you to work in an efficient, concentrated manner when it’s time to work, and when it’s time to rest, to rest by getting completely away from work. In other words, it is about learning to completely switch on or off - hence the name of the Campaign. The Switch Campaign envisages realizing a working environment in which you can maximize your work efficiency by switching on and off optimally, thereby reducing overtime work, using paid holidays, and promoting self-realization through work and a full private life.

Shortly, under the leadership of each departmental chief, the respective workplaces are expected to devise and carry out measures best suited to their particular situation. Measures can include reexamination of tasks, setting of “no overtime work days” or scheduling of paid holidays, for example. At the corporate-wide level, training programs for time management, improvement of systems aimed at a better balance of work and private time, optimization of personnel placement, and measures for enhancing working efficiency are under consideration.

It would be ideal if such corporate-wide campaigns and action plans, including VISION 2012 in particular, were thoroughly and accurately communicated to all personnel. In reality, unfortunately, it seems that there are some who do not even bother to learn about them, let alone actively participate in them, assuming that they themselves are not concerned. I’d very much like to see total involvement by all.

The Switch Campaign is an extremely important corporate-wide campaign. Let us carry out the Switch Campaign together, keeping in mind that our all-out involvement in this campaign will help us live and work in good spirits, and with a stronger sense of security. Conducting this campaign successfully will also reinforce our corporate constitution and culture that are conducive to positive results, enabling us to realize VISION 2012 and our goal of becoming a “Glorious Excellent Company.”

April 3, 2008,14:29 +0900(JST) The Entrance Ceremony

Company entrance ceremonyOn April 1, we held the Company’s entrance ceremony at the Head Office, welcoming a total of 349 persons, including mid-career recruits, as new members of the Sumitomo Electric Group. The largest conference room in the Head Office building was filled with chairs for the occasion, and the sight gave me a feeling of encouragement about the Company’s future.

In the entrance ceremony the new employees were called out one by one and asked to rise, in accordance with the Company’s custom, so I was able to meet them, making eye contact with each one of them. As I saw their bright eyes filled with hope, I felt my motivation reinforced. So I also renewed my resolution to constantly strive to make Sumitomo Electric a better and more rewarding workplace for all.

The new employees represented diverse backgrounds: graduates from Japanese and foreign universities, non-Japanese who completed their studies in Japanese universities, fresh-looking 18-year-olds, etc. Their personalities and fields of specialization also vary, but they are all Sumitomo Electric hopefuls, rookies of great potential. I sincerely hope that all of them will further develop their abilities through their working life at Sumitomo Electric, make full use of those abilities and become valuable members who will lead the Sumitomo Electric Group into the future.

During the entrance ceremony I made three requests to our new people, as a way of expressing my expectations and my encouragement. In fact, I say almost the same thing every year in the entrance ceremony, because I believe that it constitutes the fundamentals for respectable working people. I repeat the same principles to Sumitomo Electric Group people on several other occasions throughout the year, but I’d like to repeat them once again here as a recap:

1. Master the basics of your work, and do your work conscientiously
2. Strive to improve and develop yourselves constantly
3. Take great care of your communication with others

I don’t think I ask anything unusual in these principles. In fact, I believe that once you become familiar with the Sumitomo Business Spirit, which has been handed down for generations within the Sumitomo Electric Group, become deeply aware of the Corporate Principles and the Charter of Corporate Behavior, which embody the Sumitomo Business Spirit, and constantly keep in mind the above three principles, you will know how you should act in any situation.

For the new employees it is also important, at the outset of their new lives as full-fledged members of society, to become accustomed to the new environment and new living conditions. Dear new Sumitomo Electric members, the entire Sumitomo Electric Group and I hope that you will take good care of yourselves and have an enjoyable and rewarding working life. Congratulations on your employment, and my heartfelt welcome to Sumitomo Electric!

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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