September 2, 2008,10:15 +0900(JST) Sumitomo Electric Group Global Award Ceremony (3)
After the award ceremony, we moved from Osaka International Convention Center (Grand Cube Osaka) to the adjacent Rihga Royal Hotel for a commemorative reception, which was held in a buffet style and attended by those concerned including, needless to say, almost all of the ceremony participants. The relatively large banquet hall was pleasantly crowded, adding a lively atmosphere to the event and facilitating networking.
In the beginning, I gave a short speech and led kagami-biraki, ritual breaking of a keg of sake. With this high-spirited gesture, we hoped to vigorously open up the Sumitomo Electric Group’s future, despite today’s gloomy economic situations in and outside Japan.
Now that I think of it, the kagami-biraki, a well-established custom for us in Japan, must have been an unusual sight for Sumitomo Electric Group members from abroad. Incidentally, the day after the ceremony and the reception, participants from outside Japan visited various facilities such as Sumitomo Electric’s manufacturing centers and Sumitomo Yuhoen Villa in Kyoto, a place not to be missed when it comes to Sumitomo’s history. I sincerely hope that these visits enabled the participants to feel firsthand the weight of the company’s existence over many years.
While I was quite pleased with this event, which enabled us to meet many other Sumitomo Electric Group members, talking with them directly or with the help of an interpreter, my only regret is that my choice of language might not have been appropriate. The Sumitomo Electric Group’s video presentation, projected before the ceremony, was narrated in English, while the whole event was accompanied with simultaneous interpretation, as I wrote in my earlier entry (Sumitomo Electric Group Global Award Ceremony (1)), so that all participants could understand the presentations and so speakers could express themselves in their own languages with no constraints. In this sense, everything went perfectly well. However, as Sumitomo Electric’s President and CEO, I somewhat regret having spoken almost exclusively in Japanese during the event. It may have been seemingly natural for me, but I think I could have done it differently. Events organized by truly global companies are basically held in English. So now I think that the MC should have spoken in English, and that I too should have given my speeches and presentation of VISION 2012 in English.
So areas for future improvement like this have been identified. All in all, I think I can say that the event was a success. I hope that the Sumitomo Electric Group will continue to progress further and have more participants join us in our future events.