February 24, 2010,09:08 +0900(JST) Global Manager Development Program

In mid-February we organized a four-day training program, inviting local executives of our affiliated overseas companies to Japan. I also wrote about last year’s Global Manager Development Program in the blog.

A scene from the last day’s partyThis year we had 16 trainees from 11 countries: Australia, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Morocco, Poland, Thailand, UK and USA. I personally took part in the Program by giving a talk to the participants, attending the welcome party on the second day and listening to participants’ reports on the last day. The welcome party was extended to a second round, and the party on the last day was equally pleasant and enjoyable. I believe that this program helped shorten the psychological distance between the Head Office in Japan and the participants’ companies.

The Global Manager Development Program involves more than simply listening to lectures or going on field trips. The participants are given themes relating to the entire Sumitomo Electric Group, on which they must deliberate in two groups and report on the last day. Each year I look forward to these reports, and the suggestions made, with great interest.

Group photoThis year’s themes were "how to secure excellent human resources" and "how to enhance group consciousness and motivation." The two groups made proposals regarding the clarification of career paths and the importance of corporate branding. I found these proposals very well thought out, and I was strongly impressed and encouraged by the participants’ serious attitude. An active question and answer session also took place, as well as a deep and sincere exchange of ideas among those present. I expect that those suggestions will be effectively integrated into various future measures.

The Sumitomo Electric Group is a rapidly globalizing company: about 40% of our sales come from outside Japan, and over 100,000 of the Group’s consolidated employee population of 150,000 are non-Japanese.

As for future world market trends, it is certain that China, India and other newly emerging economies will achieve the greatest growth. Europe and North America, although in a difficult situation at the moment, still represent a huge developed market and cannot be ignored. As for Japan, its relative importance continues to diminish. For us Japanese, it is becoming necessary to adopt the way of viewing Japan in a larger worldwide context, and act accordingly.

Speaking of Japanese in connection with the Global Manager Development Program, which is targeted at overseas executives, there are still some Japanese who have difficulty engaging in fluent conversations with overseas participants, although a growing number of our Japanese personnel are quite capable in this area. The Program also reminded me of the importance of training for Japanese human resources if we are to stay on the scene as a global player.

Comments (4)


It might be long over due to upgrade Japanese personnel to upgrade their EQ in English to make Sumitomo Electric a truly global company. Anyway it's never too late and this program surely a step in the right direction. Maybe need to speed up to catch up with fast moving global condition.


Thank you for your comment.
As for Japanese employees' English skills, I see your point.
I also strongly believe that this program will lead us in a right direction.
We will continuously train our Japanese personnel in order to adapt to a rapidly changing global market.
Furthermore, we will constantly send them to overseas to enhance their worldwide experience.


I greatly admire your attitude to adapt to the changing surroundings of the era you are living in thats why you are a great leader, and yes it would be great to communicate with Japanese companies that speak english, however I would rather speak to a Japanese person trying to speak english albeit in a broken language opposed to communicating via an interpreter.

Kind Regards

Kevin Pather (South Africa)


Thank you for the comment.
As the company is expanding its business activities across the world, I strongly believe it is necessary to convey our thoughts in our own words regardless of their language proficiency.
However, since a good command of languages always helps us deepen mutual understanding, I encourage our Japanese employees to make more efforts to improve their English skills.
I am hoping that every employee to have courage to jump into the overseas markets and make their own way, and one day, become a great force to compete in the global business world.

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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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