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.
It has been almost two years since the tragedy of the Great East Japan Earthquake. To those affected by the disaster, I would like to offer my heartfelt sympathy, and trust this New Year will bring blessings and hope.
Looking back on last year’s global economy, I find that there was an aggravation of the debt crisis in the EU, a slowdown in the growth of emerging countries, and a sluggish recovery of the U.S. economy, all of which have coalesced into a global expansion of the downturn in the economy. In Japan, it is true that there was steady domestic demand, thanks to a tax reduction for ecologically friendly automobiles and demand related to the reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake. However, the economy showed significant weaknesses due to the decrease in exports resulting from the appreciation of the yen, the slowdown of foreign economies, and other factors.
Amid this harsh environment, the Sumitomo Electric Group promoted measures to expand our sales channels into globally growing markets and categories, and to reduce costs considerably by optimizing our production. On top of that, we focused on the development and expansion of new technologies and new products.
In our automobile-related business segment, we enhanced the production of wiring harnesses in ASEAN nations, Mexico and other countries. In our industrial-materials-related business segment, we decided to manufacture cutting tools, sintered parts, and oil-tempered wires in Indonesia, where the production of automobiles is currently expanding. Additionally, in our infocommunications & systems-related business segment, while promoting the expansion of the sales of optical fiber cables and lightwave network products on a global basis, we are working on the reduction of costs related to micro & opto devices mainly by shifting our production base to Vietnam.
As for our new products and new technologies, in our environment & energy-related business segment, we commenced the demonstration of a megawatt-class power generation/storage system at our Yokohama Works in July last year, striving for the commercialization of the redox flow battery and concentrated photovoltaic units. Moreover, in October last year, we launched a demonstration involving the connection of a high-temperature superconducting cable to a power grid, for the first time ever in Japan. In the electronics-related business segment, we successfully developed an electric double-layer capacitor using Aluminum-Celmet, our original material, as well as a true green semiconductor laser diode with over 100 mW output power at 530 nm. We will continue to accelerate our development.
It is expected that the business environment will be very severe again this year, filled with uncertainty and insecurity. To approach the target of our mid-term business plan “VISION 2012” as closely as possible, and transform ourselves into what we intend to be as a Glorious Excellent Company, the Sumitomo Electric Group will continue to make concerted efforts. In so doing, your continued support and encouragement will be most sincerely appreciated.
I would like to conclude by wishing for your good health and further prosperity.