November 15, 2016,17:00 +0900(JST) Osaka Marathon 2016

On Sunday, October 30, I attended the 6th Osaka Marathon as chairman of the organizing committee, a position I have served in since the second event. Although the previous day was very windy, race day opened to fine, clear autumn weather, a perfect day for a marathon. At 8:55 a.m. the wheelchair marathon started from the front of Osaka Castle Park, and then at 9:00 a.m. the short course race and full marathon started. Approximately 32,000 athletes began running out into the city of Osaka.

After seeing all of them off at the starting point, I went on ahead to the finish line to welcome them. The first finisher was Mr. Takahiro Ito in the wheelchair marathon with a record of about 1 hour 35 minutes. For the men's full marathon, Mr. Ngandu Benjamin of Kenya became the meet champion for the first time, and for the women, Ms. Yoshiko Sakamoto won her first victory. As seen by Japanese athletes sweeping the podium in the women's race, as well as Japanese runners taking second and third place in the men's race, Japanese racers' excellent showing stood out at this event.

I hear that this year's marathon drew approximately 4,000 runners from abroad, a record high exceeding last year's figure, indicating that the event is becoming more international year by year. Actually, Mr. McDuffee, from one of our group companies in the U.S., won a lottery to gain entry and finished the race successfully.

The Osaka Marathon is supported by many people such as the runners themselves, along with approximately 10,000 volunteers and event-related staff, and more than 1.3 million supporters cheering on the runners along the course. This gives me the feeling that the Osaka Marathon has now become a signature event of Osaka in autumn. As for the charity program, a major characteristic of the meet, over 130 million yen had already been donated even before the event this year. In terms of the charity event, the meet is growing, and I hope that the Osaka Marathon becomes the top runner in social contributions.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for all of your support for all of these things.

With Mr. McDuffee right after he finished the race
With Mr. McDuffee right after he finished the race
Together with our staff who finished the race and their families
Together with our staff who finished the race and their families

November 7, 2016,16:00 +0900(JST) 5th Sumitomo Athletics Festa

On October 16, we held the Sumitomo Athletics Festa at the Sumitomo Multi-Purpose Sports Field in Itami, Hyogo. The event mainly consisted of an athletics workshop for elementary and junior high school students in the morning, and the Sumitomo Electric Cup, which also served as a meet to challenge Japanese records, in the afternoon. In addition, the event adopted the theme "health festa" for the first time, and contained physical fitness tests and a yoga workshop. Although the wind was a little strong, the weather was nice, helping to attract many more visitors than usual.

Moreover, some Olympians participated in the event, such as Yoshihide Kiryu, Yuzo Kanemaru, Julian Walsh, Suguru Osako, Anna Doi, Kayoko Fukushi, and Tomoya Tamura, who is a member of our athletics club. These Olympians were so appealing that a crowd of people who wanted to catch even a glimpse of them formed around them in an autograph session.

For new records, Hideki Omuro of Otsuka Pharmaceutical equaled the Japanese record in the 200 m hurdles. Also, Hyuga Endo of Ishikawa High School, whom we have decided to employ, broke the Japanese high school student record that he had set in the 3,000 m. Furthermore, Yuki Takeshita of Sumitomo Electric won victories in the 60 m and 100 m, beating the meet record and his own record in the latter event. Thus, the festa greatly wowed the spectators. Watching the athletes sprinting in front of me, I cheered for them loudly despite myself and thoroughly enjoyed a fine autumn day of sports.

  • Mr. Endo running after Mr. Takada of Sumitomo Electric
    Mr. Endo running after Mr. Takada of Sumitomo Electric
  • Presenting medals to the winning team of a relay between elementary schools
    Presenting medals to the winning team of a relay between elementary schools

I would like to conclude by expressing my sincere appreciation to the Kansai Industrial Track and Field Association and other parties involved in this event, Itami City, the Board of Education of Itami City, companies that cooperated with the event, athletes who competed or participated in the meet and their coaches, and Sumitomo Electric employees who helped behind the scenes.

November 4, 2016,16:00 +0900(JST) Attended the 11th Sumitomo Electric Top Executive Conference of the Americas

Recently, I attended a conference for all top executives of our group companies in the Americas. Held in Silicon Valley, it was a two-day event consisting of a dinner party on October 5 for participants in the executive conference and the main session on the following day, October 6.

Containing a wide variety of activities, such as exchanges of opinions on the current situations of group companies and the common challenges they face, reports of each committee's activities, suggestions, discussions, and guidance, the conference is improving each time in terms of its range of themes and quality. This event has made me realize that each group company is increasing its commitment to its local region, leading to the acceleration of localization. The common language used at the conference was English, and the Japanese expats showed a spectacular improvement in their English proficiency. Although I might be too optimistic, I feel that globalization and diversity are finally becoming a part of our corporate culture.

Whenever I see our employees putting in an excellent performance outside Japan, I make a lot of pleasant discoveries. On the other hand, in Japan, which lags behind, I keenly feel the necessity to further promote globalization and diversity.

The venue of the conference was San Jose, renowned for Silicon Valley, near San Francisco in California. Staff members of our group company in Silicon Valley drew up the necessary documents, arranged the venue, prepared an exciting party, arranged the accommodations for the participants, and did all the other necessary things. I would like to express my appreciation for their careful preparations and consideration with due care to even the minor details.

Since I serve as chairman of the Osaka Marathon Organizing Committee, on my way home from this U.S. business trip I also participated in an event held on October 9 to celebrate the eve of the Chicago Marathon, and enjoyed renewing my friendship with the Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director, Carey Pinkowski. Chicago and Osaka are sister cities, while the Chicago Marathon and the Osaka Marathon have also concluded a partnership agreement. Although both Director Pinkowski and I are busy, we meet at least once a year, contributing to grassroots-level diplomacy on behalf of the two cities. Executives at our group company in Chicago arranged for my annual stay in the city, and I would like to express my gratitude to them.

  • At the dinner party
    At the dinner party
  • At the conference
    At the conference
Together with conference participants
Together with conference participants

October 21, 2016,16:00 +0900(JST) Visit to Vietnam

The other day, I visited Vietnam, a country showing remarkable growth.

Even during the Vietnam War, we did not close our office in Saigon (present-day Ho Chi Minh City) and continued our business in a wide variety of fields centering on electric wire construction and infrastructure development. At the time of Saigon's fall in 1975, however, our expats left Vietnam, barely escaping with their lives.

Aiming once again to enter the Vietnamese market, we founded a joint venture with a company affiliated with the country's government and began production of automotive parts in 1996, after the Socialist Republic of Vietnam was established. This company is the first of our 14 group companies, consolidated and non-consolidated, that currently operate in Vietnam. With approximately 34,000 employees, these companies contribute to local society.

While in Vietnam, I remembered the days when, as general manager of the automotive division, I had visited Hanoi a number of times and wrapped up negotiations for the company's establishment in 1996, with the spirit of ignoring minor differences in order to accomplish a common goal. These memories stirred my emotions very deeply, leaving me unable to describe how I felt.

Although it was just a four-day trip, staff members of some group companies in Vietnam, including locally hired executives, held a warm get-together for me each night. I was totally grateful for their hospitality. In addition, when I visited their plants, local executives gave me in-depth explanations, enabling me to see how hard all of the staff members were working. I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to them all.

  • At Sumitomo Electric Interconnect Products (Vietnam), Ltd.
    At Sumitomo Electric Interconnect Products (Vietnam), Ltd.
  • Together with local staff members at a get-together
    Together with local staff members at a get-together

October 19, 2016,16:00 +0900(JST) Autumn Ceremony to Welcome and Encourage New Staff Members

On October 3, we held an autumn ceremony to welcome and encourage our new staff members. The event was attended by those who had just entered the company that day and mid-career workers who had joined us in the first half of this fiscal year.

Compared with the ceremony held this spring, the number of participants, 55, was smaller, but it must have been a special day for each of them.

When each person's name was called in a solemn atmosphere, he or she replied "Yes!" From the serious look on their faces, we felt their expectations and enthusiasm for the future.

Presenting an appointment letter to the representative of the new staff members
Presenting an appointment letter to the representative of the new staff members

In my welcome address, I made the following three requests to the new members, by expressing my warm welcome and encouragement to them:

  1. Ensure that your work is based on the Sumitomo Spirit, understand it well, and implement it conscientiously;
  2. Strive to become professionals through constant efforts to improve and develop yourselves; and
  3. Take great care with your communication with others.

I hope that as members of the Sumitomo Electric Group they will pay close attention to their physical conditions and safety, and develop fulfilling and wonderful careers.

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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