March 12, 2013,09:10 +0900(JST) Business Results for the Third Quarter of FY2012


On February 4, Sumitomo Electric announced its business results for the third quarter of FY2012.
For the cumulative third quarter, sales increased to 1563.3 billion yen, exceeding those for the same period last year, while operating income remained largely unchanged at 46.9 billion yen, and ordinary income and quarterly net income declined compared to the same period last year to 59.2 billion yen and 26.1 billion yen, respectively.

The first quarter of the current fiscal year started on a steady note thanks to the recovery of automotive production and other factors. During the second quarter, however, repercussions of the economic slump in Europe and slowing economic growth in the emerging markets began to be felt, and the third quarter suffered from ever-tougher global competition and the direct impact of the anti-Japanese protests in China.

The current year concludes VISION 2012, Sumitomo Electric’s mid-term business plan over five years. It is also the year our new business plan, currently being developed, will be launched. Although stagnation of the European economy looks set to continue for some time, the United States is showing signs of economic recovery, while Southeast Asian economies are enjoying robust health. In Japan the market mood is starting to lift a little due to the psychological effects of “Abenomics,” the new government’s economic policies to encourage private investment. Taking advantage of this moment and in order to prepare ourselves for our next leap forward, we will do our utmost during the remaining two months to secure the sales and profits that would enable us to attain the officially announced targets for the fiscal year. I look forward to your continued support.

March 12, 2013,09:05 +0900(JST) Superconducting Cable Demonstration Test


Sumitomo Electric has been carrying out a superconducting cable demonstration test at its Osaka Works since the beginning of January this year. On January 21, I visited the Osaka Works to observe the test equipment and status.

About 100 years ago, the phenomenon of superconductivity was discovered in 1911. In the very same year, Sumitomo Electric delivered the nation’s first 11 kV underground power transmission cable. I perceive a mysterious coincidence between the two events. The study of superconductivity was promoted worldwide after a high-temperature superconducting material was discovered in 1986. Our company had started related research well before that, in the 1960s. Since then, the company has been at the forefront in the field of superconducting technology. To give some specific examples, we succeeded in the world’s first test on the interconnection of a superconducting cable to an existing active power grid in America in 2006. Domestically, we launched in December 2012 a joint test project with Tokyo Electric Power Company for the interconnection of a superconducting cable with an actual power grid.

In the demonstration test at the Osaka Works, a section of the plant’s power distribution line has been substituted by a superconductive power distribution system to check the operation reliability of the entire system including a branch box and cable cryogenic cooling equipment. (To make a manufactured superconducting cable superconductive, the cable must be cooled to a temperature of approximately –200°C.) If the demonstration test verifies that the system can operate stably, the superconductive power distribution system will take a giant step toward practical use in data centers and other technical buildings that consume huge amounts of electricity.

A superconducting cable system that can carry electricity without loss is a “dream technology” to our company, as a manufacturer of electric wires/cables. However, at one time, such a system was called an “impossible dream” because of the difficulty of manufacturing such wires/cables. When I look back at the past, I am filled with deep emotion, feeling “we have just got the present point.” With people’s growing concern about energy issues worldwide, people’s expectations for superconducting technology are high. On the day subsequent to my visit to the demonstration test site, many mass media visited the site for interviews and ran the news on TV and newspapers.

In terms of a marathon race, superconducting system development is currently passing the 35 km point. Though the development is approaching its goal, the development activities seem to have become fatigued and are sluggish. I believe whether or not the development advances or stagnates depends on how we brace our spirits. At the demonstration test site, I encouraged the development engineers in charge to make a final effort for the goal.

Making dreams come true is the privilege of engineers. I sincerely hope that all of them go headlong into the goal with high aspirations.

Superconducting Cable Demonstration Test

March 12, 2013,09:00 +0900(JST) Fellow and Specialist Certification Award Ceremony


An in-house ceremony was held to award the certifications of “Fellow” and “Specialist” to qualifying employees.

Since 2004, Sumitomo Electric awards the titles of Fellow, Senior Specialist or Departmental Specialist to employees with first-class skills, knowledge, know-how and an outstanding track record of achievement in their respective fields. A total of 101 employees were awarded the titles this year. The award ceremony was held to present 23 new Fellows and Senior Specialists with their titles.

Fellow and Specialist Certification Award Ceremony

The aim of this accreditation program is to encourage further self-improvement by the recipients of the titles, as well as their younger colleagues, for whom title holders can serve as role models, thereby fostering next-generation human resources.
To prevail in today’s fiercely competitive environment, in which product development and all sorts of other tasks have become increasingly sophisticated and complex, and the speed of change increasingly hectic, individual employees are expected to generously share with their junior colleagues not only their tacit knowledge but also their attitude toward work and their aspirations. I sincerely hope that more and more employees will follow in their footsteps to attain higher degrees of expertise.

March 12, 2013,08:58 +0900(JST) ECO-Life Activities: Persistence Leads to Success


I arrived home the other day to find a delivery of a potted plant — Schefflera arboricola 'Hong Kong'. The attached message said it was the prize for accruing enough points to qualify for “Grade A” under Sumitomo Electric Group’s environmental initiative called “Eco-Life Activities.”

The delivered Schefflera arboricola 'Hong Kong'As mentioned in a previous blog entry, our group has conducted Eco-Life Activities since fiscal 2008 to reduce employee household CO2 emissions by 5,000 tons. The idea is to extend our corporate environmental conservation activities to individual employee households, thereby promoting environmental awareness and encouraging active involvement in practicable environmental conservation activities. In September 2011 Sumitomo Electric also started its own version of the “Our Household Environmental Minister — Eco Family Report” program. Currently 3,300 employee families are registered as Eco Families, including my own.

According to the program secretariat, the targeted 5,000 ton reduction has already been achieved, thanks to the innovative measures carried out by each respective family.
Since long-term, sustained efforts are crucial to the success of these activities, the secretariat is constantly devising measures to invigorate the program.
At my home, “eco activities” have become a constant, yearlong preoccupation, and the potted plant, delivered without notice, came as a delightful surprise. I think the program is quite ingenious, since each of these little shrubs is raised with loving care by staff members of our special subsidiary company Sumiden Friend.

Needless to say, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The accumulation of individual efforts by each of us makes a great difference. I look forward to your continued engagement in environmental activities.

March 12, 2013,08:55 +0900(JST) 2013 New Year’s Parties


As always, our corporate New Year parties were held in Osaka, Tokyo and Nagoya, inviting close business partners, trading companies and dealers. I wish to take this opportunity to thank everyone who attended despite their busy New Year schedules. I would like to start my 2013 blog with a summary of my New Year speech.

Making a speech in Tokyo

“First of all, I wish to express my gratitude for your support over the previous year, when the business environment was harsh, and with the global economy permeated with a sense of stagnation.
This year will be no different in that each country has a long way to go toward fundamentally solving its respective woes, and this unstable, uncertain state is likely to persist.
The year 2013 is a guisi (water snake) year, which according to the neo-Confucian theories of Masahiro Yasuoka, requires one to ‘proceed with matters with an enterprising and creative spirit, overcoming resistance and adhering to principles, standards and logic.’ (Reference material courtesy of Kansai Shiyu Kyokai)
The Sumitomo Electric Group inherits the maxim ‘Banji-nissei’ (do your sincere best in not only business but also every aspect of your life), which is taken from the preface to the Monjuin Shiigaki (The Aphorisms of Monjuin), written by Masatomo Sumitomo, who founded the House of Sumitomo.
Adhering to this spirit of immutability, we will make 2013 a year for riding the raging waves of globalization, promoting diversity, and accelerating early commercialization of new products and technologies.
This year will be no exception in that all Sumitomo Electric Group employees will make efforts toward creating a ‘Glorious Excellent Company,’ maintaining the spirit of ‘Banji-nissei,’ high aspirations, a strong motivation toward achieving goals, and a cheerful, positive outlook. As such, I sincerely look forward to your continued support and guidance.”

My speech was followed by a cask-breaking ceremony and conversation over refreshments, from which I gained not only enjoyment and energy but also valuable insight, and the event came to a close all too soon.

The lid of the sake cask broke beautifully

Some calligraphy that I wrote to mark the fresh start of the year

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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