April 7, 2016,14:30 +0900(JST) Completion Ceremony for Large-Scale Storage Battery System at Minami-Hayakita Substation

Last December, our redox flow large-scale storage battery system was completed at the Minami-Hayakita substation of Hokkaido Electric Power Co., Inc. (HEPCO). On March 9, I attended the completion ceremony.

The weather forecast said that a blizzard would rage. However, though it was certainly cold, the wind was thankfully not so strong, with the sun sometimes shone, making the day not so bad for holding the event. The ceremony was a large-scale event, attended by about 100 related people, including President Akihiko Mayumi of HEPCO.

The completion ceremony began with a Shinto rite of offering sprigs of sacred sakaki trees in front of the shrine altar established in the building housing the battery system. I also offered a sprig. After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, a plant tour was held and then everyone attending moved on to the Hayakita Citizen Center, where a celebration party was held. At the party I delivered an address, in which I expressed my appreciation for the tremendous hard work of all those concerned. In total, 44,081 people have been involved with the construction without causing any accidents or disasters for 19 months since the construction started in May 2014. I would like to express my sincere appreciation once again. I also would like to extend my deep gratitude to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the local government, and other parties concerned for providing excellent instruction and support.

The demonstration experiment will run for three years until FY 2018. Although it has just started, we would like to continue doing our best so that we can generate results favorable to both HEPCO and Sumitomo Electric.

  • Ribbon-cutting ceremony
    Ribbon-cutting ceremony
  • Celebration party
    Celebration party

April 7, 2016,14:00 +0900(JST) CSR Foundation's Activities

CSR Foundation's Activities

Since its establishment in 2009, the SEI Group CSR Foundation has provided monetary contributions for university courses and financial support for academic and research activities, in order to contribute to developing human resources and promoting academic activities in various fields both in Japan and overseas. On March 3, we held a ceremony to provide the monetary contributions and financial support, with 25 professors attending.

After the ceremony, three professors selected from the participants spoke about what they do in their university courses to develop young entrepreneurs.

To develop young managers who can respond to dynamic environmental changes flexibly and speedily, a systematic development program is absolutely necessary. I hope that these courses will provide not only the necessary support, but also opportunities for young people to experience actual difficulties, receive stern but constructive criticism, and feel distressed enough to improve.

In the world of business, things seldom follow logically. When you encounter an unexpected situation, grit and a firm character are needed. I asked the professors to incorporate such aspects into their courses. I look forward to seeing excellent results from their hard work.

CSR Foundation's Activities

April 7, 2016,13:30 +0900(JST) Striving to Qualify for the Olympic Games

On March 6, the 71st Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon was held. Since we were supporting the race as a special sponsor, I went to the venue to root for the runners.

This year's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon served as the final race for selecting Japanese athletes for the Rio Olympic Games. Partly because of the unfavorable performance of Japanese runners in the two previous races in Fukuoka and Tokyo, it seems that this race at Lake Biwa was attracting a lot more attention from the public than usual. At the pep rally held the day before the race, I was asked to deliver a speech, and stated that I looked forward to watching an aggressive race, which may have sounded a little bit harsh to some runners.

On the day of the event, it was so warm that even a little walk caused me to sweat a little. Although there was some concern that it might rain, the weather turned out to be nice with gentle winds, making the day perfect for cheering on the runners. However, for the runners it seemed that it was a bit too warm.

  • Striving to Qualify for the Olympic Games
  • Striving to Qualify for the Olympic Games

In the first part of the race, some foreign athletes formed the first group, followed by a second group of Japanese runners. In the second group were Mr. Fujiyama, Mr. Fujimura, and Mr. Tanimoto, all of whom are members of our athletics club. As the race continued, however, they gradually started lagging behind the other runners... What a pity!

The race continued on at a fast pace in the former part of the event, suggesting that first place and other high positions would be dominated by foreign runners. At the end of the race, however, Japanese runners gathered strength. When Hisanori Kitajima (Yaskawa Electric Corporation) came into the stadium in third place, spectators in the stands became very excited, and I also actually screamed "Go! Go!" Although I'm not sure whether he heard me or not, he overtook the runner in front of him right before the finish line, and so finished in second place. Considering his tenacious performance and the warm weather condition that day, his result was excellent. I feel that he has come close to being selected to represent Japan at the Olympic Games. I hope that runners competing in the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon will all become Olympians.

I feel that the race as a whole was exciting and fully worth watching. I would like to express my appreciation to all those who rooted for the runners from the sidelines along the course or in their living rooms.

Striving to Qualify for the Olympic Games

  • Meanwhile, the 71st Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon was the final race for Noritaka Fujiyama, a member of our athletics club. After finishing the race, he told me that, though he could not run as he had expected, he enjoyed running. He looked refreshed. At the 2013 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, he finished in 12th place. As the leader of our athletics club, he has always done his best. Mr. Fujiyama, thank you very much for your hard work!

  • Striving to Qualify for the Olympic Games

March 15, 2016,15:25 +0900(JST) Local Distributors' Conference in China

From February 22 to 23, I stayed in Shanghai to attend a conference with local distributors for our peroducts. Since the time difference between Shanghai and Japan is only one hour, and it takes only two and half hours from Kansai International Airport, the business trip to the city made me feel as if I had traveled to another city in Japan.

Local Distributors' Conference in China

The conference was attended by dozens of individuals from local distributors and other organizations. The event included our explanation of the current business situation of the Sumitomo Electric Group, as well as the commendation of distributors demonstrating excellent sales activities.

The conference was followed by a stand-up dinner party. Forming small groups here and there in the venue, party participants were making toasts and drinking freely. This exciting scene made me realize that I was in China.

While emptying my glass, I asked some participants about the current business situation. Most of them answered that the situation was not so favorable and that it was difficult to predict the future. Since the Chinese economy continued to enjoy steady growth until just a little while ago, they seemed somewhat puzzled failing to forecast how the country's economic slowdown would turn out to be.

I'm sure that the competition in China among companies fighting for their survival will become more and more intense. To avoid getting involved in an unproductive war of attrition caused by price competition, we need to constantly place unique and value-added products in the market.

With staff members from Sumitomo Electric (Shanghai) Electronics, Ltd.

With staff members from Sumitomo Electric (Shanghai) Electronics, Ltd.

March 1, 2016,09:40 +0900(JST) Our Redox Flow Battery System Wins Award at 2015 Nikkei Superior Products and Services

Our redox flow battery system was selected as a winner of the Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun Excellent Award at the 2015 Nikkei Superior Products and Services Award. The award ceremony was held on February 3 in Tokyo.

This award is granted to products and services that were covered in the Nikkei Shimbun and related newspapers and magazines. I hear that this year, winners were selected from among about 20,000 items. The winner's list includes many products that have attracted much public attention through TV and newspapers. I feel truly honored that, ranking with such items, our redox flow battery system was selected as one of the 18 winners of the Nikkei Award for Excellence.

Unfortunately, I could not attend the award ceremony. According to Executive Vice President Takenaka, who attended the ceremony, Dr. Hiroshi Komiyama, chairman of the board of examiners, made a special reference to our redox flow battery system at the beginning of the ceremony. Dr. Komiyama encouraged us by stating in his address that our technology was truly innovative and that he would like us to lead the world's future battery technology and industry. Mr. Takenaka told me that he had been deeply moved by the chairman's comments.

We have just recently launched a demonstration experiment of our redox flow battery system in cooperation with Hokkaido Electric Power Co., Inc. Nevertheless, the item had already been selected as a winner of the Nikkei Award for Excellence. We feel that this indicates high expectations from the public, and would like to work even harder to ensure that the product lives up to the name of the award.

  • Executive Vice President Takenaka (left) receiving the award certificate

    Executive Vice President Takenaka (left) receiving the award certificate

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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