November 28, 2008,09:12 +0900(JST) Athletics practice for junior high school students in Itami City (2)

Mr. Koji Ito instructing the participantsOur two-hour athletics practice was very rich in content. I believe that the participants - junior high school athletes and future sprinters - found it very interesting and stimulating. They had the opportunity to learn directly from a world-class athlete about how to train the whole body, to develop the ability to quickly leap into motion and how to make the best of it in competition. I hope this training will help those participants in their future physical and mental development.

Since the participants are still junior high school students, they are in varying physical formative stages. Many of them will grow taller and bigger. I’d be very pleased if they could grow remarkably as track-and-field athletes, thanks to the correct training method taught at the event. Some of the participants were already demonstrating great potential during the training. Some were making immediate progress after learning how to better use their feet, particularly their toes.

TrainingI also followed the training, rather discreetly. I’m happy to say I did quite well during the two hours, and I had to, I must add, for I have the ambition of winning in masters athletics competitions (!). I’m confident that I can still continue progressing as an athlete.

Mr. Ito told me that he was impressed with my run, which was “more powerful than anybody else’s.” Perhaps he was simply being nice. He was also kind enough to worry about my physical condition the following day and the day after that. I’d like to report here that his worry proved unfounded. I train regularly and seriously.

After the training, the participants, Mr. Ito, others and I sat down for a pleasant meal together. This was an activity I was far better at than running; I really enjoyed it. I was touched by the sincere enthusiasm for sports of the people involved in organizing this event, Sumitomo Electric athletic club members who came to help run the event and others.

Mr. Ito writes about this event in his blog. (In Japanese)

I’d like to thank all those involved for their efforts in making this event a great success.

November 26, 2008,13:40 +0900(JST) Athletics practice for junior high school students in Itami City (1)

On Saturday, November 22, Sumitomo Electric organized athletics practice in partnership with Itami City’s Athletics Association, for local junior high school students engaged in athletic sports.

Sumitomo Electric’s Itami Works, more than 60 years old now (opened in 1941), has had a glorious history as Itami City’s largest manufacturing facility. We have carried out various activities for the local community, and intend to continue, so as to remain a corporate citizen loved and appreciated by local people. As our community service, we organize factory visits, publish newsletters for local residents, participate in local cleaning and greening campaigns and promote various events. The athletics practice was organized to promote local sports.

Needless to say, the main players in this event were 90 track-and-field athletes from six junior high schools in Itami City. However, the spotlight was inevitably on Mr. Koji ITO, who participated in the event as coach.

With Mr. ItoMr. ITO requires no introduction. He is the current Japanese record holder in the 100-m sprint. In December 1998, he established the record of 10.00 seconds in the Asian Games, the best performance ever by an athlete of non-African origin until the record was broken last year by a Qatar athlete. When he was active, he was not only Japan’s but also Asia’s fastest sprinter, and was nicknamed “Asian Wind.”

At present, Mr. ITO works as associate professor at Konan University, instructing students and pursuing research into sports and fitness. As you can see in the photo, he was so fit and energetic-looking that one would have thought he was still actively competing. As a “running” CEO and President, I practice regularly, but in a face-to-face encounter with Mr. Ito, I must say that the difference was perhaps a bit too obvious…

As you can see, on the day of the event, we were blessed with the best possible weather of the season, with almost no wind, and we were able to make full use of the lawn section of Sumitomo Multi-purpose Sports Field for our training.

I believe that Mr. Ito’s coaching had many eye-opening elements for the participants. I can tell you this because I also participated in the training for a full two hours (I wasn’t dressed like that for nothing)! More about the training in the following entry…

Mr. Koji ITO’s web site (In Japanese)

November 21, 2008,08:45 +0900(JST) JIMTOF 2008 (2)

JIMTOF 2008As I wrote in my last entry, JIMTOF is one of the largest trade shows held in Japan. Many companies from around the world participate in JIMTOF as exhibitors, to advertise their products in attractive settings.

I wrote about exhibitors from the Sumitomo Electric Group in the previous entry, but I shouldn’t only praise my own family members. I should also tell you that there were other exhibitors who had particularly original and impressive presences at JIMTOF. In a trade show, the smallest gesture by a booth attendant can completely change visitors’ impressions, and I noticed that in this regard, major exhibitors had left nothing to chance.

At the next JIMTOF and beyond, the Sumitomo Electric Group intends to set up a more carefully designed booth that visitors will find informative and enjoyable. Hope to see you there again!

While I walked about the fair grounds, I felt that the overall atmosphere of the event had been somewhat rejuvenated. The machine tool and related sectors tend to appear relatively subdued, but the recent brisk business must have made them a little livelier.

At the entrance to the exhibition hall, JIMTOF’s PR booklets in comic book format featuring characters from Natchan, a popular Japanese graphic novel series, were on offer, and I hear that they were very well received. I think this was a very effective approach to correcting some fixed ideas about the machine tool and related sectors. Contrary to their widespread image as a universe solely occupied by men and seasoned artisans, the machine tool and related sectors offer highly rewarding career opportunities to people from varying backgrounds.

Natchan is a story about a young woman who works in the iron works industry, but I hope that both high-potential men and women of various age groups will join and further develop the sectors representative of Japan’s industrial life.

November 19, 2008,13:20 +0900(JST) JIMTOF 2008 (1)

JIMTOF stands for Japan International Machine Tool Fair. This event, held every other year, was held for the 24th time this year, which makes it a long-established trade fair. It’s also a very large-scale event. To give you an idea, along with the Comic Market and Tokyo International Gift Show, JIMTOF is one of the few events that occupy the entire Tokyo Big Sight (Tokyo International Exhibition Center).

Full view of the joint boothAt JIMTOF, held for six days from Thursday, October 30 to Tuesday, November 4, two Sumitomo Electric Group member companies were present. Sumitomo Electric Hardmetal Corporation, which mainly exhibited cemented carbide tools, and A.L.M.T. Corporation, whose exhibits mainly included tools and functional components. During this period, the trade fair welcomed some 170,000 visitors. This figure should also give you an idea of how large JIMTOF is. I myself visited the event on Monday, November 3, a public holiday.

At the boothAt the 23rd JIMTOF, Sumitomo Electric Hardmetal started exhibiting jointly with Nachi-Fujikoshi Corporation. Their huge booth, impressively arranged, mainly in black--- surprised many visitors. This year, they set up a stylish, functionally arranged white-toned booth.

The exhibits were arranged by category of use, so that the fields that comprise the strengths of the two companies, such as aircraft, automobile and construction equipment, could be easily recognized. I hope that the visitors found their exhibition informative and pleasant. As for me, I was happy to see the two companies reinforcing their collaborative ties through this event.

A.L.M.T. also had a well-arranged booth that emphasized its technological characteristics. I hope that visitors were able to grasp the company’s high technological level by looking at its exhibits, including the wire saw used to remove mural paintings from the walls of the ancient Takamatsu-zuka Tomb

More about the 24th JIMTOF in the next entry…

November 13, 2008,08:45 +0900(JST) A Leading Company “Sumitomo Electric Industries”

A Leading Company “Sumitomo Electric Industries”The Leading Company series from the Japanese publisher, Shuppan Bunka Sha Corporation, has featured us and I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce the book. (The book is in Japanese, though.)

This series just started this year and has picked a total of 10 companies so far—five companies are covered in each half of the year. The number of companies will increase in the future. I’m happy we’ve been chosen in the early stage and appreciate the insight of the person in charge at the publisher.

The book outlines all about Sumitomo Electric and highlights the Company’s current situation by a brilliant reporter, Satoko Matsuo of the Japan Metal Bulletin and the future outlook by Atsushi Yamaguchi, one of the best analysts in the iron, steel, and nonferrous metal industries. It also features six talented experts in our group and an interview with me.

“Going global with its industry-leading technological capabilities; an enterprise evolving for 400 years and more!” The advertisement on the jacket is absolutely right. Sumitomo Electric is still developing. I hope we’ll continue evolving to be a “Glorious Excellent Company.”

They say the Leading Company series full of helpful information on job hunting and company and industry research will be enhanced into the future. The book is available at major bookstores in Japan and on I really hope you’ll pick up a copy of the book.

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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