January 17, 2014,19:30 +0900(JST) This Year Begins with New Year Ekiden

On January 1, the New Year Ekiden took place in Gunma, and our team competed in the race for the first time, which I would like to write about today.

I stayed in Tokyo on December 31 and went to Gunma by bullet train early the next morning. It might have been the first time that I have seen the sunrise on New Year’s Day on a bullet train in my long business career.

In the race consisting of seven stages (stretching 100 km), runners made their start in front of the Gunma Prefectural Government Office (Maebashi City), ran through the southern part of the prefecture, and returned to the prefectural government office. Many of our group’s staff and their families from across Japan - approximately 150 people - wearing matching windbreakers, went ahead of our runners in separate buses and cars before they began to run in their stages and rooted for them ardently. Fortunately, it was a fine day and not too cold, and the weather was not so bad for cheering on runners outdoors.

The third-stage runner Takezawa (far left) blazed past 11 rivals

In the first half of the race, our team competed favorably with strong teams and temporarily reached 13th place, raising my expectation that the team might become a high ranking winner. However, in the middle stages, our team began to lag behind. Although they never gave up and subsequently rallied, they eventually came in 25th out of 37 teams. This might be a bitter result to the runners, but I feel that their experience at the national level event will become a valuable asset in the future.

Praising the runners for their hard work after the race

As spectators, we also appreciated the fun of an Ekiden as a team sport in which each member tries to make up for a delay generated by someone else. Moreover, I feel that many people realized the joy of getting united and cheering on not only our runners but also other companies’ athletes.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my appreciation to those who rooted for our runners on the streets or in their living rooms.

January 17, 2014,15:20 +0900(JST) New Year’s Greetings

I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year.
In the Kansai region, we spent a peaceful New Year holiday. How did you enjoy your holiday? I hope that 2014 will be a marvelous year for you all.

Every year, on the first day, I announce my message to our employees, which is broadcast at the work starting time.

This year, I focused on the following three points:
(1)Nurturing the spirit of creative destruction and implementing it
(2)Identifying problems at an early stage and responding to them promptly and thoroughly
(3)Reinforcing SEQCDD* improvement activities and compliance

Currently, information spreads instantly all over the world, bringing about sudden unforeseeable changes everywhere in the world. If you do the same thing as you did in the past, you will never be able to secure continuous growth. In this regard, I selected “creative destruction” as the key word.

“Creative destruction” might sound confusing. I feel that each of you should begin by acquiring the habit of always getting back to our basic principles, such as the purpose of your job, social needs, and value that you can present. If you then try to collect wisdom and engage in discussion free from past examples and stereotypes, it is highly likely that you will find a breakthrough and a new business model that have been unavailable to you so far. I believe that the clue to the creative destruction lies in diversity and communication.

Fortunately, Sumitomo Electric has staff with a wide variety of experiences and perspectives all over the world. It would be a waste not to utilize this diversity. While taking a defensive attitude through (2) and (3), this year, we also would like to become aggressive by performing (1). We ask for your continued support and guidance in the coming year.

* Safety, Environment, Quality, Cost, Delivery and Research & Development

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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