Autumn has been an important season since olden times because it is a time of harvest. For those engaged in agriculture, forestry and fisheries in Japan, this year has been particularly difficult due to large-scale natural disasters including the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami and the recent typhoons. Once again I would like to express my heartfelt sympathy for those who have been affected by the disasters.
Autumn is also an important time for us at the Sumitomo Electric Group since it marks the beginning of the second half of the business year. It is the time when we examine the results of the efforts we made during the first half-year, switch from the restoration mode of the last six months to a harvesting mode, putting on a spurt toward achievement of our annual goals.
Accordingly, a range of special in-house events were scheduled for the first business day of October. The first thing in the morning, I delivered a President's Message to the entire Group over the in-house broadcasting system, stressing the vital importance of safety, environmental consideration, and the quality of our services, products and clerical work, with a review of the Group's situation in the first half-year. I then issued letters of appointment and instructions to new hires in the now-established autumnal company entrance ceremony, followed by an all-day meeting in which the second half-year business plans were presented. In the evening, I attended an informal get-together to meet people expected to join the company next spring. I hardly had time to warm my seat that day.
All those events share two key words: globalization and diversity. For us, a vast business group of over 450 companies* operating in various countries around the world, to become the Glorious Excellent Company that we envision, it is essential to make sure that a common corporate culture that attaches the greatest importance on the principle of "safety and quality first" and “environmental protection” thoroughly permeates our organization. I expect that, on this common foundation, our new members will further add to the Group's diversity through their previous working experiences and various cultural backgrounds to fully demonstrate their abilities in their respective fields while continuing to cultivate themselves to become global leaders who will lead the Sumitomo Electric Group in the future.
At present, amid the dynamic advance of globalization, Japan's industry is burdened with the six-fold handicaps of appreciation of the yen at its highest post-war level, global warming control measures, reinforced labor restrictions, delayed trade policy adjustments, power shortages, and heavy corporate taxes. This situation, coupled with the season, reminds me of the expression from the Chinese classics: "Autumn of a life-or-death crisis" from Chu Shi Biao, a memorial written by Zhuge Liang (181-234), chancellor of the state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period, and submitted to the Emperor some 1800 years ago. Zhuge Liang's earnest appeal to the Emperor as to how the state should be saved and run is also recounted in the Records of Three Kingdoms in a passage familiar to many Japanese.
"Life-or-death crisis" may be a little extreme to describe the current situation, but it is true that the business environment that surrounds us continues to be challenging and uncertain. However, I would like to state that all members of the Sumitomo Electric Group are determined to do our very best, drawing on our strengths and ingenuity in our respective positions ?- and demonstrating the quintessential virtues of the Japanese as pointed out by the American futurologist Herman Kahn: enterprising, adventurous, innovative, highly goal-oriented, etc. -- so as to meet the expectations and requests of our customers and other stakeholders.
* The number includes consolidated and non consolidated subsidiaries, affiliates accounted for under the equity method, non-consolidated subsidiaries not accounted for under the equity method and affiliates not accounted for under the equity method.