I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year, and take this opportunity to thank you for your warm support for the Sumitomo Electric Group.
To those who have been affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, I would like to offer my heartfelt sympathy and trust this New Year will bring blessings and hope.
Looking back on 2011, the earthquake and tsunami of March 11 brought such extensive damage to Japanese society as a whole that the disaster can be considered a national calamity. The global community also witnessed historic changes and faced thorny issues that came to light: political upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa, credit insecurity in Europe triggered by the debt crisis in Greece, inflation in emerging economies, and the devastating flooding in Thailand. We can say that in economic terms, 2011 was a year marked with lack of transparency and many uncertainties.
Under such circumstances, the Sumitomo Electric Group worked vigorously throughout the year, quickly resuming operations after the disaster and supplying materials necessary for post-disaster recovery, expanding its global production and sales networks, and developing and promoting new products and technologies.
In a bid to strengthen our global production network, we established a mass-production base for cutting tools in China, and built manufacturing plants for automotive wiring harnesses in Cambodia and the Philippines. In terms of the global sales network, our sales subsidiary commenced operations in India last November to promote information and communications systems, the railway network, and other social infrastructure businesses, as well as environmental and renewable energy related business.
Major examples of new products and technologies include a rechargeable molten salt electrolyte battery, which uses only molten salt as the electrolytic solution, and a micro smart-grid demonstration system, in which renewable power generators and a storage battery are DC-interconnected. Currently, we are working hard towards the early commercialization of these products and systems.
In September, the Sumitomo Electric Group established "the Global Human Resource Management Policy" (Global HRM Policy) as the common basic policy to be applied worldwide within the Group with regard to human resources development, thereby offering greater career opportunities, promoting diversity, and fostering future global leaders. The Global HRM Policy will help us accelerate global human resource recruitment, promotion, and development. While adhering to the Sumitomo Spirit and Sumitomo Electric Group Corporate Principles, we will incorporate the Global HRM Policy in various functions of our group companies through organizational and institutional reforms.
In the coming April, our mid-term business plan "VISION 2012" will enter its final fiscal year. We are facing a very severe business climate filled with uncertainty and insecurity. Nevertheless, all members of the Sumitomo Electric Group remain committed to putting forth the utmost efforts to achieve the "VISION 2012" goals and our ambition of becoming a "Glorious Excellent Company," always true to the Sumitomo Spirit of "Banji-nissei" (Do your sincere best, not only in business but also every aspect of your life); "Shinyo-kakujitsu" (Place importance on integrity and sound management); and "Fusu-furi" (Do not act rashly or carelessly in pursuit of easy gains).
In so doing, your continued support and encouragement will be most sincerely appreciated.
Finally, I wish for your good health and further prosperity, and hope you all have a very happy new year.