The other day, a typhoon went through the Japanese archipelago, inflicting heavy damage upon many people, including those involved in agriculture getting ready for the harvesting season, as well as those in forestry and fisheries. I would like to express my deep sympathy to all those affected.
Looking back on the Japanese economy in the first half of this fiscal year, we find that the exchange rate hovered just below 100 yen to the dollar. This generated expectations for an improvement in company earnings, which led to a rise in stock prices and a recovery in consumer spending, especially on luxurious goods. While the prices of imported items are rising, an improvement is observed in the employment situation. Although there is an impression that a positive mood is preceding the actual situation, it can be said that, on the whole, the sun is beginning to shine softly.
As for the global economy, it is difficult for emerging markets to maintain the high growth that they used to enjoy. In Syria and Egypt, there is a distinct lack of optimism. In the U.S., although it is slow, an economic recovery is being observed. In Europe, it is reported that the German ruling party’s victory in the general election held the other day will give some respite to the European economy. Considering these circumstances, it can be said that prospects for the world economy as a whole is still cloudy.
At the beginning of 2013, I asked all employees to focus on the following three points: promoting globalization and diversity of our business activities; enhancing our R&D capabilities; and strengthening the SEQCDD (Safety, Environment, Quality, Cost, Delivery, and Research & Development) activities. By highlighting these points, I requested the establishment of a strong business structure sufficiently robust to stand firm even if there are changes in the outside environment.
There are only three months left before the end of 2013; the second half of the fiscal year began this month. Recently, I thundered at some group members, though it was just a small thunder, to ensure that everybody checks their activities once again in light of the above three points and put on a spurt to end the year on a successful note.