January 31, 2013,08:40 +0900(JST) Athletics Practice for Junior High School Students in Itami City - Season 5

As I have mentioned several times before in this blog, Sumitomo Electric holds athletic practice for junior high school students in Itami City in partnership with Itami City's Athletics Association. I'm pleased to announce that this program has entered its fifth season.

On December 24, a chilly Christmas Eve with a cold wave gripping Japan, the second round of this season was held, with the participation of approximately 130 students and their instructors.

Divided into groups according to sports events, namely, sprints, long-distance, jumping, and hurdling, the students received instructions from Mr. Koji Ito, an associate professor of Konan University, and members of the athletics club of Konan University, as well as from Mr. Tadayuki Hashimoto, the long-distance running coach of our athletics club, and members of our athletics club.

Receiving the instructions seriously, the students sometimes burst into joyful laughter. While the students seemed to be really enjoying the training, the secretarial staff members appeared to be shivering in the cold, truly evoking the old saying "while children are open-air lovers, adults are fireplace lovers."

Training involving some elements of a tag gameSprints training

Joining in with the students, I warmed my body well enough by doing some exercises and walking, and then did some dashes and running. Although I wore a bench coat at first in the bitterly cold weather, during my one-hour training, my body gradually began to feel warm. It was good for a change.

Walking with students

January 31, 2013,08:35 +0900(JST) Final Presentation Meeting of Sumitomo Electric’s Executive Training Program

On December 8 and 9, I attended the final presentation meeting of Sumitomo Electric’s Executive Training Program, an overnight event held at one of our training facilities, Ikoma Seminar House. As I have explained before, this training program features an approximately six-month “Action Learning” as its core element.

At the Action Learning, each cross-sectional team comprising five or six persons gathers opinions through interviews covered over approximately half a year, with various management challenges designated as themes. After holding many discussions, the team presents proposals for appropriate solutions. This round drew 41 participants, including four executives from our local subsidiaries in foreign countries.

The themes presented to the teams in last July were rather vague, initially confusing them about where to start. Actually, however, this was part of the intention of the program. The essence of management lies in identifying problems from among the chaos of information available and opening up a direction to head in.

Although, unfortunately, I cannot tell you the details of the final presentation meeting, some teams explained unexpected business situations, while others presented analyses and proposals from totally new perspectives, making the event truly stimulating. Despite receiving tough questions and harsh comments from our executive officers and other participants, the teams were dauntless in their replies. I believe that this serious discussion enabled all those present there to share necessary information and the image of what the Sumitomo Electric Group should be in the future. Having started in 2005, this training program marks its eighth anniversary this year. I feel that the event has been steadily gaining greater significance over the years.

Asking the ASEAN Team from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore

January 31, 2013,08:35 +0900(JST) Participated in Economy Discussion

On November 30, I participated in an economy discussion held in Osaka (by Nikkei Inc. and the Japan Center for Economic Research) as a panelist.

Participated in Economy Discussion

The other panelists were Masayoshi Amamiya, General Manager of Osaka Branch of the Bank of Japan; Robert Feldman, Chief Economist of Morgan Stanley MUFG Securities Co., Ltd.; and Kazumasa Iwata, President of the Japan Center for Economic Research. Along with these eminent members, I exchanged opinions regarding both domestic and international economic trends in the future from a wide range of perspectives.

Even if I had not participated as a panelist, it would still have been beneficial to listen to the three experts on the topics of economy and finance.

It is customary for the discussion to conclude with the panelists presenting their forecasts for future real growth rates, stock prices, and yen exchange rates. Reflecting current business sentiment, I presented my forecast figures to indicate that “although there is a sense of expectation to some extent, the current unclear situation does not allow for an optimistic outlook.”

January 7, 2013,09:25 +0900(JST) Osaka Marathon

On November 25 (Sunday), the Osaka Marathon was held. I participated in the event as the chairperson of the Osaka Marathon organizing committee.

At 8:55 on a chilly morning under a bright blue sky, 36 wheelchair runners began their race. Then, at 9 o’clock sharp, I fired the starting gun, and the marathon and the Challenge Run (8.8 km) began in front of the Osaka prefectural government office. Beneath roadside trees with golden autumn leaves, approximately 30,000 runners—old and young, male and female–in a wide variety of colorful running outfits made their starts. It was a truly impressive scene.

Myself, with Mr. Ichiro Matsui (left), the Governor of Osaka Prefecture, standing on the starter stage to encourage runners

After the race began, I moved to the front of the Osaka City Hall to welcome those who participated in the Challenge Run. Afterward, I moved to Intex Osaka, located in the southwest of Osaka, where the finish line was established, to celebrate the finishes of those who had participated in the full-marathon.

The race was completed by seasoned runners, such as Ms. Lidia Simon from Romania, a popular runner even in Japan, occupying the top ranks. Meanwhile, both Mr. Brandon Mull and Ms. Christina Crawford, citizen runners invited from Chicago, finished within the top 10.

In the women’s race, Lidia Simon (fourth from the left) won the championship for two successive years. I am on her left side.

After attending the awarding ceremony for high-ranking winners, I ate okonomiyaki, a signature dish of Osaka, quickly at a stall set up at the venue, and then returned to the finish line to welcome citizen runners reach the goal one after another. I later heard that some of our employees participated in the race as citizen runners. Actually, some of the runners recognized me and called out to me during the race. I also heard that some of them finished the race with a time of a little more than 3 hours. They did very well indeed!

At the finish line

At 4:00 p.m., I placed a race completion medal around the neck of the final runner who slipped across the finish line at the very last moment of the designated time of seven hours, before the race ended.

I think that runners participated in the race for different reasons, such as they just loved running, they wanted to try something new, they wanted to achieve something, and so on. No matter what their motivation, the thing that impressed me the most was that all of them were smiling when they crossed the finish line. Moreover, the race completion rate was approximately 96%. I guarantee that this was due to the passionate commitment of the approximately 1.2 million citizens who cheered the runners on from the sidelines, as well as staff members and other persons who supported the event, and also 10,000 volunteers. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all of them!

Now that it has been proved that this marathon race is attractive enough to draw such a large number of people, I hope that the event will enhance its attractiveness as a competitive race, and that it will generate even more significant results in terms of charity, which is one of the important concepts of the event. By so doing, I believe that the event will eventually become able to compare with the World Marathon Majors. I look forward to your continued support.

January 7, 2013,09:20 +0900(JST) IR Meeting

On November 14, we held an IR meeting at our Tokyo Head Office. I would like to express my appreciation to the many institutional investors who attended the meeting despite their tight schedule.

The meeting began with my explanation of the business results for this half-year and the prospects for this entire fiscal year. Mr. Mitsuo Nishida, Senior Managing Director, then made a presentation on the outline of our automotive wiring harness business. We received many questions from those who attended the meeting regarding our information & communications and electronics businesses, neither of which was able to produce favorable results, and also regarding our automotive business, which has been leading the entire group. Based on these questions, some attendees inquired about our next mid-term business plan.

Our next mid-term business plan is still under consideration. However, since a wide variety of our research and development efforts made in the fields of the environment, energy, and life-sciences are gradually beginning to match social needs, we would like to lead these efforts to commercialization as soon as possible. Moreover, as for our global business development, we are considering an appropriate production system and marketing, with "local production for local consumption" as one of our keywords.

When considering the future of his/her company, a business manager always worries over what should be done about a non-productive business. It is, of course, necessary to make utmost efforts to ensure that such a business will generate a higher profit as soon as possible. However, some products are inevitable to society, even if it is difficult to make them yield a high profit. As for products that can contribute to society, we believe that they will generate stable profits in the long run. We will establish the next mid-term business plan paying a full attention to the Sumitomo Spirit, which prohibits "acting rashly or carelessly in pursuit of easy gains" and embraces "mutual prosperity and respect for the public good."

More than 100 persons attended the meeting

For those interested, presentation materials and a video of the meeting are available on our website.

-Presentation materials and a video of the FY 2012 interim business results report meeting

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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