Happy New Year to you all! I am truly glad to be able to exchange new year greetings with you upon welcoming 2013.
It has been almost two years since the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami struck the Tohoku region. To those who have been affected by the disaster, I would like to offer my heartfelt sympathy and hope the new year will bring them blessings and brightness.
Considering the year 2013, I'm afraid that the economic situation will remain difficult to predict and business conditions will continue to be harsh on us. In this time of globalization and information technology, a single problem in a country can spread in the blink of an eye and have a great impact on the entire world.
In view of the above, I would like to ask you to pay special attention to the following three items.
Firstly, I would like you to promote the globalization and diversity of our business activities.
Our group has developed its business in more than 30 countries around the world, employing a total of over 200,000 people, 80% of whom are working outside Japan. To maximize the advantages of the diverse human resources, I would like you to master common languages and try to create a corporate culture that lives in harmony with local communities. In addition, I would like to ask our managers to establish appropriate human resource management systems. In pursuing these goals, please always keep in mind the principles of the Sumitomo Spirit, which are “Banji-nissei*1,” “Shinyo-kakujitsu*2” and “Fusu-furi*3.”
In this complicated global economy, unexpected challenges will arise one after another. However, I believe this is the time when diversity works as our greatest advantage.
Secondly, I would like to ask you to enhance our R&D capabilities.
For a company to market new products and technologies that meet the needs of the time and society, R&D is of vital importance as the essential base for the company’s sustainable growth. While an open atmosphere and autonomy are the keys to dynamic R&D activities, you are required to take on the responsibility for and create positive results from what you do as a member of the company. I believe that these targets can be obtained at the same time if you have high aspirations. I would like to ask you to increase your R&D efforts, while keeping your aspirations high and your targets and timeframes clear.
To swiftly identify the critical needs of the market, it is also important to closely cooperate with corporate staff, sales, and other business groups. Open innovation should be incorporated where necessary, to find the best solutions in the shortest way possible.
Finally, I would like to ask you to strengthen the SEQCDD activities.
Safety, Environment, Quality, Cost, Delivery and Research & Development (SEQCDD) are the foundations of our corporate management, but I still see room for improvement. Once you stop working on them, the effects will fade soon just like our bodies' muscles, which cannot remain strong without continuous training. Therefore, please make sure that improvement activities conducted in your workplace have not become mere routine by losing sight of their original purposes. I expect every one of you to do your very best with a strong determination to achieve your original goals.
Please remain attentive and proud to perform your duties, while always ensuring compliance with regulations and corporate ethics, so that we will be able to achieve our individual goals, and eventually to reach our ideal state as a Glorious Excellent Company. In this endeavor, I would expect you to make your best efforts to create an open and supportive working environment with strict work ethics that enables everyone to fully demonstrate their abilities.
*1 Banji-nissei: do your sincere best, not only in business but in every aspect of your life
*2 Shinyo-kakujitsu: place importance on integrity and sound management
*3 Fusu-furi: do not act rashly or carelessly in pursuit of easy gains