January 28, 2009,08:40 +0900(JST) President Obama's inaugural address

On January 20, Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. Some two million people in attendance listened as the new president delivered his inaugural address. In it, he straightforwardly described the severe situation of the United States and emphasized the arrival of a new era of responsibility, in which the entire nation must tackle numerous problems to get through this difficult period. He urged the people to regain their pride in being Americans and move forward to realize their dreams. The audience's enthusiastic response was truly overwhelming.

In his address, President Obama spoke of eight values that are earnestly needed:

"Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths."

If I recall correctly, the former President Bush referred to four virtues in his inaugural address: civility, courage, compassion and character. Retrospectively, we rather hesitate to say whether these virtues were truly acted out under his administration.

At home, business has entered a long dark tunnel, and everyone is desperately looking for a first ray of bright light, as in the United States and elsewhere. Some say that the current enthusiasm for President Obama is like bubbles that are bound to burst and disappoint everyone. Yet, we can't help hoping that the Obama effect will somehow dissolve this once-in-a-century economic crisis, restore confidence to the financial markets and regenerate demand in the real economy.

Of course, as a business manager, I'm not simply being optimistic without squarely facing the reality. I know you can't survive in a severe market economy by just hoping for the arrival of some saviour with a miraculous cure-all. It is vital that all of us heighten our awareness and take action. Accordingly, at Sumitomo Electric, on the basis of a shared constructive and healthy sense of crisis, we have renewed our determination to further solidify our corporate constitution and conduct thorough human resource development in preparation for a future phase of growth so as to overcome this crisis, under the slogans "keeping our organization appropriate to our abilities and reconstructing our cost system," "expanded and deeper internal solidification" and "educational rearmament."

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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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