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New Year Message -2009

Jan. 5, 2009


Main Contents

The following "New Year Message 2009" was addressed to all officers and employees by President Shoei Utsuda.

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Season's greetings to everyone

As we begin a new year, I would like to take this opportunity to share some thoughts with you.

Macro economic environment

2008 was a year of major upheavals in the world economy. Of particular concern is the global financial crisis triggered by the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers last September, which is having a serious impact on economies around the world. Governments and central banks have taken coordinated action and demonstrated their readiness to use every available measure to respond to this situation. They have been increasing government spending, easing monetary conditions, and using public money to inject capital into financial institutions. While financial markets should gradually recover their composure as these measures start to take effect, the serious downturn of the real economy is yet to come, and we must be fully prepared for continuing challenges in the economic environment.

As the world emerges from the financial crisis, we are likely to see international moves to review financial systems and redesign various aspects of the regulatory systems. I believe that this will lead to changes in the fundamental conditions of the business environment, including reconfirmation of the role of governments and corporations.

Leveraging challenge into opportunity

This is a time of unprecedented challenges, and that is precisely why we need to use our sense of crisis as a leverage to accelerate efforts in building foundations for the next phase of long-term growth. Given the increasing uncertainty of our business environment, we will need to focus on short-term risk management as well as take strategic approaches based on medium- and long-term perspectives.

In terms of short-term risk management, it is vital that we follow the essential principles of how we conduct business. The first step is to take the time and make the effort to have face-to-face communication with business partners in order to accurately grasp the current situation. Then, you are encouraged to take prompt action as required. As we repeat these basic steps, we should begin to understand the true needs of our business partners.

I would like all of you to combine these micro-level experiences with your understanding of the various changes occurring at the macro-economic level. Then use your full imagination to think carefully and deeply about what functions and roles Mitsui & Co. should fulfill in the medium- to long-term perspective, and link your ideas to specific action.

Globalization of Human Resources

Last year, I issued a message stating that our head office and three regional business units will work together on full-scale initiatives toward the globalization of human resources. This has been one of the main themes of our new long-term management vision, which we have been working on since 2007 with the aim of defining the ideal position for Mitsui & Co. ten years from now. Despite the current financial crisis, economic globalization will undoubtedly continue to expand. In order for us to ensure sustainable growth in such an environment, it is essential to promote and develop a wide range of quality personnel around the world who are fully conversant with the local business conditions. The globalization of human resources is a challenging task that will take many years to accomplish. But we are determined to move forward steadily and resolutely in partnership with employees in Japan and overseas.

Commitment to Yoi-Shigoto

As we work toward the globalization of human resources, I have been advocating the simple phrase "Yoi-Shigoto" to express the important values that I would like all of you to embody.

When you think about Yoi-Shigoto, I would like you to look at it from three perspectives: society, customers, and ourselves. And we need to ask three questions. Is our business helping to improve society? Does it benefit and add value to our business partners? Does it enhance our professional aspirations and self-esteem as individuals? Mr. Eiichi Hashimoto, former chairman of Mitsui & Co., once said that the individual builds the business, and the business cultivates the individual. Let us all cultivate ourselves through constant effort to create Yoi-Shigoto.

Closing remarks

I will conclude by wishing each of you and your families the best of health and happiness in the year 2009. Let us look forward to a year in which we can all realize our full potential and contribute to continued success.