The following speech was addressed to the new employee by President Masami Iijima.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Congratulations on joining Mitsui & Co., Ltd. My name is Masami Iijima, and I am president of this company.
This is a very special day. Today you take your first steps as members of the workforce and begin your careers as employees of Mitsui & Co. It is also a special day for me, since it marks the start of my new role as president.
As an older co-worker who has been with Mitsui & Co. for many years, I would like to welcome you all most warmly. I would also like to take this opportunity to express my resolve and determination as your new president.
The origins of the company of which you are now a part date back to 1876, when the former Mitsui & Co. was founded. During these 133 years, we and our predecessors have survived many environmental changes by continually evolving the structure of our activities.
Since last year, the global economic crisis and the resulting credit crunch have been driving the economy into recession on a scale and at a speed that are without precedent. The current business environment is more severe than anything we have experienced in the past several decades, perhaps even in the past century.
During its long history, Mitsui & Co. has been through difficult periods that have caused some to express doubts and fears about our survival. As in the past, our survival in the present crisis will depend on our ability to focus the energies of every employee and to evolve by anticipating change. Behind those abilities are certain fundamental principles, and it is about these that I will speak today.
Mitsui is People and Yoi-Shigoto
Our corporate heritage is the product of our long history. The source of that heritage is expressed in the phrase "Mitsui is People," which means that the strength of Mitsui lies in its people. These words do not mean that Mitsui & Co. is a company with excellent people. Rather, it means we place great importance on development of human resources, on nurturing people who can make a real contribution to society. We must never forget this.
Only when each one of us is worthy of respect can Mitsui & Co. realize the ideals expressed in "Mitsui is People" and earn the respect of society as a company. We cannot earn respect solely on the basis of our work skills and knowledge. We must cultivate a balanced mixture of skills and spiritual qualities, such as high ethical standards and a desire for improvement. To achieve this, every individual employee must be committed to self-improvement and action guided by continual self-reflection in the spirit of good faith and humility. The cumulative effects of these attitudes will be reflected in the qualitative improvement of our work and in our commitment to Yoi-Shigoto.
Yoi-Shigoto literally means "good quality work." We define Yoi-Shigoto as work that is beneficial to society, that is useful to and creates added value for our customers and partners, and that provides motivation and a sense of satisfaction to all employees, including yourselves.
This company will provide you with opportunities for self-realization and a wide stage on which to demonstrate your talents. Use these opportunities to the full. Commit yourselves to self-enhancement and to the achievement of your full potential through your work.
By doing these things, I want you all to achieve growth as the type of people we need to realize the ideals of Mitsui is People.
Challenge and Innovation
Another value that we have inherited from those who came before us is the spirit of challenge and innovation. I love these words.
Recently, we announced our Long-Term Management Vision, which defines where we want Mitsui & Co. to be 10 years from now. The keyword for that vision is "evolution."
In this time of unprecedented change, we cannot always rely on the experiences and successes of the past to guide us. In fact, we may sometimes find our past experiences to be useless.
Mitsui has experienced environmental changes in the past, and on many occasions there have been shrill claims that trading companies are no longer needed.
On each of such occasions, our predecessors have anticipated change and reinvented themselves by meeting the challenge of adopting innovative ideas without being bound by preconceived notions. Their legacy is our ability to achieve continual, flexible evolution in our business activities.
This is a time of change, and I want each of you to abandon any idea of stability. You need to be aware that any attempt to maintain the status quo will lead only to destruction. Never forget that the unchanging core value of Mitsui & Co. is to achieve personal evolution by realizing the ideals of challenge and innovation.
Another expression that describes our corporate DNA is "Open-mindedness."
I myself have benefited from our culture of open-mindedness, in which close communication between veteran and junior co-workers leads to growth and advancement for all concerned. I take pride in my ability to listen to the ideas and thoughts of many people and to work with them to create ideas by sharing our wisdom. This is the path of Yoi-Shigoto.
Our markets will become increasingly global in the future. Your most important quality, as the people who will drive our success in this new era, will be your ability to accept people with diverse values and to engage with them in the spirit of open-mindedness.
Always enjoy your work. Improve yourself and reach your full potential through interaction with a wide variety of people.
The keywords for success at work and in life are "appreciation," "humility" and "endeavor." In any situation, enjoy and be grateful for the fact that you are able to work. If you do, you will naturally develop a sense of humility.
Strive relentlessly. Sometimes you will feel that your best efforts will never come to fruition. However, if you continue to work hard, you will eventually experience the feeling of advancing to the next step.
I will conclude my remarks by congratulating you once again and wishing you all the best of health and happiness. I hope you will enjoy your life with this company.