June 27, 2014,11:00 +0900(JST) FY2014 National Special Agents Conference

On June 12, we held a national special agents conference, inviting special agents that are doing businesses with our Smart Infrastructure Systems Sales Unit and Electronics Sales Unit.

Held every year at this time, this conference serves as an important opportunity for us to explain our business policies and exchange information so that both special agents and we can expand our businesses. At the conference, I expressed my appreciation for each agent’s cooperation, and presented letters of appreciation to agents who had demonstrated outstanding performances.

FY2014 National Special Agents Conference

Some of the participants this year were from China. After sharing information on the country’s current economic situation, we encouraged one another, saying that although there are problems to solve, China is still a large market and we should continue cooperating to expand our businesses. By the way, one of the Chinese participants used to do track and field like I did, which made me feel as if I had met a long lost friend.

To know the situation on the business front lines, feedback from special agents is invaluable. Speaking with special agents gives me a perspective different from what I would have if I were listening to reports by our staff members. I would like to continue securing closer communication with each special agent in order to share much more information, promote sales operations ahead of market changes, and make our win-win relationships even stronger.

June 23, 2014,11:35 +0900(JST) Osaka Summer Fun Run!

On June 15, the Osaka Summer Fun Run! 2014 was held as a preliminary event for the Osaka Marathon to take place on October 26. I attended this event as chairman of the Osaka Marathon organizing committee.

The event drew approximately 1,700 people this year. I wrote in this blog two years ago that the number of Fun Run participants that year was 800, which means that the number has more than doubled over the past two years. Although there was a time conflict between the event and Japan’s World Cup match with Côte d’Ivoire, it can be said that many people truly love running.

After the opening ceremony, I fired the starting gun, and all the participants – young and old, men and women – took off running. They ran the 3.2 km course at their own paces and finished in 30 to 40 minutes. I felt relieved that all the participants, including some wearing stuffed animal costumes despite the hot weather, were able to make it to the finish line.

The race was followed by a fun-costume award ceremony. After impartial consideration, an elementary school student in a kappa (imaginary river child) costume was selected as the best, followed by a women’s team in cake costumes. Subsequently, a lottery event to present various items, including the right to compete in the Osaka Marathon, was held. Some participants gave screams of delight, while others got disappointed.

I feel that partly thanks to the fine weather, all the participants enjoyed a pleasant time.

June 16, 2014,19:05 +0900(JST) The Japan Championships in Athletics

On Saturday June 7, I went to Fukushima to watch the Japan Championships in Athletics. It was the second day of the event. As the weather forecast had predicted, it rained so heavily that the games were temporarily suspended. However, the stand remained filled with many spectators, rooting for the athletes ardently with their umbrellas open.

Rooting for athletes in heavy rainI looked forward to watching the performance of Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo University), a sprinter in the men’s 100 meters. Despite the bad weather, he marked a good result in his preliminary race and proceeded to the final without any difficulties, exciting the spectators at the venue. Meanwhile, Koji Murofushi (Mizuno), a hammer thrower, won the championship for an incredible 20 years running. The trajectories of his throws were totally different to those of the other competitors. His performance was so distinguished that it seemed that the record of his successive victories at the championship would continue for many more years to come. However, he must be making more than ordinary efforts to achieve this remarkable feat. As a member of the executive board of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, I will have a number of opportunities to meet Mr. Murofushi in the near future. I would like to hear from him about what kind of efforts he is making.

I would also like to comment on the performances of members of our athletics club. On the day of the event, in the women’s 100 meter hurdles, Airi Ito came in second. Considering that she has moved up by one rank every year since she finished fourth two years ago, we can really look forward to a great achievement next year. Meanwhile, in the women’s 200 meter sprint, Naoka Miyake came in seventh.

Ms. Ito in the women’s 100 m hurdlesMr. Konishi in the men’s 400 m hurdles
The following day, I watched the games on TV at home. In the men’s 400 meter hurdles, Yuta Konishi attacked the race aggressively and took the lead until he reached the fourth corner. Putting in an excellent performance, he came in third. Meanwhile, in the women’s 100 meter sprint, riding the crest of the previous day’s success, Ms. Miyake again gave a wonderful performance and finished fifth. In the men’s 100 meter sprint, which was the final race and attracted the strongest public attention at the event, Yusuke Kotani came in seventh. As far as it appeared on the TV, it seemed that there was not such a big difference between him and those who finished in higher places. Considering that the race was held in heavy rain, I feel that his performance suggested that he is a very promising athlete.

I’m very proud that these members of our athletics club competed in the grand setting of the Japan Championships. I was very excited to watch the games. It seems that new talented athletes are emerging one after another in all track and field events. I hope that all members of our athletics club will keep up with their training so that they can fully demonstrate their performance.

June 16, 2014,18:55 +0900(JST) Appointed As Chairman of the Japanese Electric Wire & Cable Makers’ Association

As I wrote previously in this blog, I completed my term as chairman of the International Wrought Copper Council (IWCC) this May. Subsequently, as of June 4, I was appointed as chairman of the Japanese Electric Wire & Cable Makers’ Association (JCMA). I actually held the position previously, from 2006 to 2008, and so this is going to be the second time for me to serve in the position?for the first time in six years.

However, it may be difficult to utilize my experience of the past as such. In the past six years we have observed many world-shaking events, such as the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the Great East Japan Earthquake, and the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Added to these are the super-strong yen and the rise of emerging economies, indicating that the business environment surrounding electric wire and cable manufacturers has changed a lot. Moreover, the recent speculative moves concerning copper has caused fluctuations in copper prices, which have buffeted the electric wire and cable industry.

At the press conference held right after my appointment as JCMA chairmanTo fulfill the organization’s mission of contributing to society extensively through the development of the electric wire and cable industry, the organization first needs to ensure its member companies’ energetic business activities. The reality is, however, that most member companies, about 80% of which are middle-ranking companies and small- and medium-sized companies, have not have the ability to significantly develop human resources and failed to accommodate the recent rapid changes in the business environment today.

With this as the background, the JCMA has set the following as the main themes to work on this fiscal year: 1) countermeasures against environmental problems, 2) support for reinforcement of the management foundation of middle-ranking and small- and medium-sized electric wire and cable manufacturers, and 3) measures to respond to globalization. Focusing on these issues, we will consider how we can best contribute to member companies, and how we can create a beneficial business environment for member companies. In changing my way of thinking away from the approach I usually use for the management of the Sumitomo Electric Group, I would like to do my best to find the best way forward for the organization and member companies.

June 9, 2014,11:10 +0900(JST) Shibazakura Festival

On May 25, I attended the Shibazakura (moss phlox) Festival, held at Hokkaido Sumiden Precision Co., Ltd. in Naie-cho, Sorachi-gun, Hokkaido.

This event originally took place in 1990 in order to celebrate the company’s 10th anniversary. Partly due to requests from many people, however, the festival has been held since then annually in May, the best season for moss phlox. This year again, the event was held jointly by Hokkaido Sumiden Precision, as well as Hokkaido Electric and Hokkaido Precise Tool Corporation, both our group companies located on the same property with Sumiden Precision. The festival attracted about 1,800 people including local residents, company staff members, and their families.

Now, ready to start mochi-maki (rice-cake-scattering)

Cheerful performance by the brass band club of Naie Junior High SchoolAt the festival, many booths for food, drinks and other items as well as play spaces were set by the local commerce and industry association and other organizations. The festival also contained entertainment performances of yosakoi dancing and kids drumming, as well as a fun lottery event. I’m sure that all the visitors enjoyed themselves on such a pleasant spring day. The event has made me feel that the Sumitomo Electric Group has been fully accepted as a member of the local community, and I’m very happy about this.

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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