November 18, 2013,16:15 +0900(JST) Conversation with Hitotsubashi University President Susumu Yamauchi

The magazine AERA is to publish a special issue featuring Hitotsubashi University, which I graduated from. For one of the articles in the special issue, the University President Susumu Yamauchi and I were interviewed. The venue for the interview was the beautiful Kanematsu Auditorium, which is often used for filming TV dramas. Near the entrance of the building, students were preparing for their school festival.

The interview began with the question of why I had chosen to study at Hitotsubashi University. I also described my memories of the late Professor Emeritus Shigeto Tsuru, who had served as the manager of the university’s athletics club to which I had belonged. He had taken great care of me both in public and private life.

Consider not who is right but what is right - the lesson that I learned from him still serves as my code of conduct. It was a great pleasure for me to be exposed to a liberal academic culture, to meet my lifetime respected teacher, and to do my best in both my studies and club activities.

You can see a clear picture in the magazine

The interview went on to cover various topics that I often think about, such as company management in this trend towards globalization and the importance of liberal arts. Actually, these ideas are based on the way of thinking that I acquired in my university days.

Covering a wide variety of topics, the interview and discussion with President Yamauchi was so exciting that it continued beyond the scheduled ending time. The interviewer might have had some difficulty managing the interview progress. I hear that it will take a while before the publication of the magazine. I’m looking forward to seeing how the interviewer will organize the article.

November 18, 2013,16:00 +0900(JST) Osaka Marathon Comes Again!

On October 27, the third Osaka Marathon was held. Since last year, I have served as chairperson of the Osaka Marathon organizing committee.

Although there had been some concern about the weather due to a typhoon, on the day of the event, it was fine and even a little too hot for autumn. Approximately 30,000 runners made their start in front of the Osaka Prefectural Government Office, wearing a wide variety of colorful costumes. Some participants wore costumes that made me almost ask them “Are you really gonna run in that!?” This was a very fun scene that would have been possible only at a marathon welcoming citizen runners.

I served as starter again this year. Ginkgo leaves were still green.

I hear that 1.25 million spectators, even more than those of last year, cheered the runners on from the sidelines along the course, making me feel that the Osaka Marathon has now become the main autumn event of Osaka. As for the fund-raising initiative, which is one of the characteristics of this event, I hear that generous support was provided by many people; it is expected that the amount of the collected donations will far exceed that of last year. I would like to express my sincere appreciation for your considerable contributions.

Ms. Shimahara, who took third place among women (sixth from left), carrying her baby in the commendation ceremony

I believe, however, that there is a need for this sports event to further raise its level as a race, and that there is much to do to improve its fund-raising initiative. I hear that the Chicago Marathon and the London Marathon, the most prestigious marathon races in the world, are events where professional runners are expected to mark good records every time, while also many citizen runners participate. The amounts of the donations collected through those races reach millions to tens of millions of US dollars, far cry from that of the donations through the Osaka Marathon.

I feel that many of you may think that you want to do something that benefits others, but you are not sure how exactly to do that. Hoping that the Osaka Marathon will serve as an opportunity for you to realize what you have in your mind, I’m now considering ways to improve next year’s event.

At the INTEX Osaka, the race goal. Most of the “Are-you-really-gonna-run-in-that?” runners seemingly completed the race.

The race completion rate was approximately 95% this year again. At the finish line, I saw most participants smiling, even though they must have been exhausted and suffering pain in their feet and legs. In addition, the cheering spectators were also smiling. Physically demanding but mentally energizing - that is the great attractiveness of a marathon.

I gave a medal to the last runner, who completed the race in seven hours, picking up garbage on the streets along the way.

November 12, 2013,17:15 +0900(JST) Business Results for the First Half of Fiscal 2013

On October 31, we announced our business results for the first half of this fiscal year.

The results were as follows: sales of 1217.6 billion yen; operating income of 47.0 billion yen; ordinary income of 57.3 billion yen; and net income of 25.8 billion yen. We recorded an increase in both sales and income compared with the same period last year, with business results exceeding the figures announced in May. This is largely thanks to your support. Considering that this is the first fiscal year of our VISION 2017, the figures indicate that we are making good progress toward achieving our targets. We have revised upward our projected business results of the entire fiscal year.

Looking at other companies' reports on their interim business results, many companies are announcing favorable outcomes, creating numerous optimistic headlines in the news. Personally, however, I'm not sure to what extend this atmosphere represents the actual situation. As well as many other companies, the Sumitomo Electric Group is benefiting from the weaker yen, which implies that the business results are somewhat more positive than our real capabilities. With this in mind, I'm encouraging Group's staff members to reinforce our lean but solid corporate structure to ensure that we can generate profits even if the dollar is 80 yen.

When something happens somewhere, it affects the rest of the world beyond people's expectations. This was what we keenly realized at the time of economic confusion triggered by the Lehman Brothers collapse due to subprime mortgages. Currently the yen is weak, but there is no telling what will happen in the future. We will continue to work on building an even stronger foundation rather than becoming either optimistic or pessimistic about external factors such as the currency exchange rate.

While remembering the lesson of the proverb "Vows made in storms are forgotten in calms," we will continue doing our best in the second half of this fiscal year. We would like to receive your continuous support and guidance.

Fact Book FY2013, 2nd Edition [PDF:1,100KB]

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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