December 26, 2014,10:00 +0900(JST) On the Last Business Day of This Year

This year is coming to an end.
In the Oriental zodiac, 2014 was the year of kinoeuma, also called kou-go.

One theory says that the kanji character for kou represents a plant seed or sprout breaking through its hull, with the tip of that seed or sprout being observed from the outside. Meanwhile, the kanji character for go represents something gloomy trying to push up its cover in order to come up from deep underground into the air. This character has the meaning of opposition or resistance in Japanese. The business climate for the first half of this year was turning up, while it became stagnant and stalled in the latter half of the year. It can be said that this year was similar to the situation expressed by kou-go.

What will next year bring? Since it seems that the sluggish economy will continue for a while, we would like to steel ourselves and review once again the basics of our manufacturing business, especially in terms of safety and quality. We will continue to work very hard every day with the spirit of Banji-nissei (Do your sincere best in not only business but also every aspect of your life.)

I would like to conclude by expressing my sincere appreciation to you all for your guidance and support extended to the Sumitomo Electric Group again this year. Since the flu is going around, I hope that you will take care of your health, and that you will have a Happy New Year.

December 19, 2014,14:45 +0900(JST) Final Presentation Meeting of Executive Training Program

In July in this blog, I mentioned the beginning of the 10th executive training program. The other day, to conclude the half-year training program, we held a final presentation meeting at our Ikoma Seminar House. For the management, including me, such a meeting is an invaluable opportunity to clearly identify various problems that we feel every day.

This year as well, I listened to nine presentations over the two days, and engaged in many discussions. As well as in past years, this year the meeting covered a wide variety of themes, such as corporate culture, ideal governance, diversity, and examination of possibilities of new businesses.

When talking about this training program with people outside Sumitomo Electric Industries, I am often asked how we can secure such a wide variety of themes every year. Actually, not all themes are totally new, but some are similar to past ones. However, not all proposals that gained approval at past presentation meetings have been put into concrete form. Believing that some practical problems must be behind it, we look into the problems more deeply. As a result, I feel that proposals in recent years have begun to feature more sophisticated perspectives and have become richer in content, compared with those at earlier presentation meetings.

I'm confident that promoting these efforts continuously over the past 10 years is an invaluable asset for Sumitomo Electric Industries.

December 19, 2014,13:20 +0900(JST) 6th Tokyo Institute of Technology and Hitotsubashi University Joint Traveling Seminar

Since 2009, the Kuramae Tokyo Tech Alumni Association of the Tokyo Institute of Technology and the Josuikai Alumni Association of Hitotsubashi University have annually held a joint traveling seminar as an open event for citizens and students, in order to contribute to local communities. This year, the sixth anniversary, the event took place in Nagoya on December 7. As president of the Josuikai, I attended the seminar.

6th Tokyo Institute of Technology and Hitotsubashi University Joint Traveling Seminar

Every year, this seminar features a theme appropriate for the event's location and timing. The theme of the sixth seminar was innovation. The event consisted of keynote lectures "Innovation in the Process of the Development of the Fuel Cell-Powered Vehicle MIRAI" by Managing Officer Ogiso of Toyota, and "Corporate Strategies and Innovation" by Professor Aoshima of Hitotsubashi University, as well as lectures by the presidents of both universities. Audience members asked many questions of the speakers, and they gave appropriate answers with some humor, which made the audience satisfied with the event.

6th Tokyo Institute of Technology and Hitotsubashi University Joint Traveling SeminarAt the friendly gathering held after the seminar, as usual the Japanese-style cheering squads from the two universities sang their school songs and exchanged yells, which made me feel as if I were slipping back to my university days. We enjoyed talking about our past memories so much that we almost lost track of the time. I feel that the content of this joint traveling seminar is becoming richer and is improved every time. Although no details have been set for the next seminar, if you have interest in the event, why not join it?

December 15, 2014,09:10 +0900(JST) To the East, and to the West

The end of the year is coming, and this year is going to pass by very quickly. After the beginning of autumn, I went on many business trips to domestic and overseas business facilities, affiliated companies, and customers, which perhaps has made me aware even more keenly how time flies.

As I've already mentioned in my blog, this autumn, I went to the U.S. and Europe once, as well as to China twice. Despite this busy schedule, the number of my domestic business trips that I needed to make did not decrease. Actually, in the final week of November, I couldn't go home for the whole week, keeping a set of spare clothes in my office.

This month as well, I went to an affiliated company in Toyama. While I was exchanging opinions with the company's executives after checking its plant, it began snowing more and more heavily. The next morning, although I went to a station earlier than scheduled, I found that the train I was supposed to take had been canceled, as I had expected. Since I had an important meeting with a customer that afternoon, I needed to reach the next business trip destination no matter what. However, the heavy snow prevented me from finding an alternative means of transportation. Although I tried to find another executive from Sumitomo Electric who could meet the customer instead of me, no other executives were available.

Feeling "all was over with me," I was totally at a loss with what to do, and I checked my railroad ticket. Then, I found that the railway name printed on the ticket was different from the name of the railway that I thought I was going to take. I had expected that I would need to take the same train as usual. It is really important to check this on your own. According to the train operation information board, fortunately, the railway that I needed to take was still running. In Japan, December is called shiwasu, meaning "running priest" in Japanese. It is believed that December is called this because everyone is very busy during the month, and even a Buddhist chef priest, who might be calm in other months, is running about finishing what he needs to do. I hear that this belief is actually not right. Even so, I was running inside the station in the month of "running priest," and jumped onto my train, able to avoid any problem.

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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