MITSUI & CO., LTD. East Asia Bloc (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hongkong, Taiwan each Unit)


Mitsui’s DNA

*Quoted from the website of MITSUI & CO., LTD.

Mitsui’s DNA 1

── Mitsui’s DNA 1

Commitment to the Pursuit of Challenge and Innovation

Some have argued that shosha, or trading companies, are redundant. This theory arose in the late 1960s in the form of predictions that manufacturers would tighten their dominance over distribution, eliminating the role of trading companies as entities involved solely in the movement of goods. The 2000s saw the emergence of claims that the growth of the internet would eliminate the “middleman” and negate the role of trading companies. These arguments have certainly caused Mitsui & Co. to take a new look at its own roles and functions. However, the fundamental question that we need to consider very carefully is whether the role played historically by the sogo shosha, or general trading companies, has been limited just to the intermediation of trade.

World War II left Japan in ashes. Determined to revive Japan, Mitsui & Co. began to procure resources globally and helped manufacturers to break into markets around the world. Through those activities, we led the miraculous reconstruction process that turned Japan into one of the world’s leading industrialized nations. While it is true that the profit that Mitsui & Co. gained through this kind of business was earned through the intermediation of flows of goods, we should not try to describe Mitsui & Co.’s role in business development in such trivial terms.

The essential significance of Mitsui & Co.’s business activities is its role in the creation of value for a brighter future through the formation of business structures. Mitsui & Co. produces new value by detecting latent needs and discovering issues in the economies and people’s lives and devising highly creative and innovative solutions. The essence of Mitsui & Co.’s business is its continuing role as a provider of industrial solutions to changing needs. Mitsui & Co.’s business activities have evolved over time. The value generated by those activities today is extremely sophisticated and diverse. The driving force for this evolution has been our endless accumulated efforts geared at “Challenge and Innovation” on every business frontline.

This concept of “Challenge and Innovation” has been passed down as part of the DNA of Mitsui & Co. employees, and as a phrase that describes our philosophy toward business. It is the source of value creation by Mitsui & Co. In each era and on each business frontline, the cumulative results of challenge and innovation by individual employees have driven Mitsui & Co.’s evolution through the creation of new business, previously unknown business models, and innovative systems. That evolution will continue as long as we remain firmly committed to the pursuit of “Challenge and Innovation”.

A Mitsui & Co. person will
always allow his or her
daring to be guided
by a keen sense of mission.

Tatsuzo Mizukami (Former president of Mitsui & Co.)

Mitsui’s DNA 2

── Mitsui’s DNA 2

“Mitsui is People”—A Reputation Backed by a Long Tradition of Dedication to Human Resource Development

Mitsui & Co. has no tangible assets, such as manufacturing plants, retail outlets, or restaurants. When we say that people are our greatest asset, we are speaking literally, not metaphorically. None of the value created by Mitsui & Co. would be possible without our human assets. That is why our dedication to human resource development is one of the most important facets of our traditional corporate culture.

“The individual builds the business, and the business cultivates the individual.” These words are often quoted when we talk about Mitsui & Co.’s approach to human resource development. It expresses both the relationship between business and people, and the origins of professionalism at Mitsui & Co. Mitsui people grow into true professionals by immersing themselves in exciting business and struggling with challenges. The frontline of business is an environment where employees build strengths that go beyond skills and knowledge by accumulating diverse experiences and encounters. Having developed a sense of professionalism and acquired these strengths, Mitsui people return to the business frontline to create business that will bring new value to Mitsui & Co. This cycle of evolution and development is precisely summed up in the words: “The individual builds the business, and the business cultivates the individual.”

As of March 31, 2022, Mitsui & Co. had 5,494 employees and a consolidated workforce of 44,336. We develop these human resources through a stratified training system covering all levels from new employees to management. We have programs designed to train global human resources, including a foreign language & business culture trainee program that has operated continuously for many years. Mitsui & Co.’s deep commitment to human resource development is evidenced by the continuing enhancement of our training programs for people at every level of seniority or rank.

For individuals, Mitsui & Co. is a playing field that offers the greatest possible opportunities to those who are willing to learn through their work and aspire to become independent professionals. Mitsui & Co.’s most important responsibility as a company is to maximize the value of its human assets and train them as true professionals.

The reputation accorded to Mitsui & Co. by society, as expressed in the phrase “Mitsui is People”, can be seen as the result of this consistent commitment to human resource development throughout the company’s long history.

The individual builds
the business,
and the business cultivates
the individual.

Eiichi Hashimoto (Former Chairman of Mitsui & Co.)

Mitsui’s DNA 3

── Mitsui’s DNA 3

An Open-minded Corporate Culture—Our Foundation for Innovation

Many companies use the word “open-minded” to describe their corporate cultures, but there are probably few people who are strongly impressed on hearing this word. However, we need to state clearly that when we use this word at Mitsui & Co., we are not simply paying lip service to this aspect of our corporate culture, but rather describing a vital part of our tradition and culture that form the essence of our business activities and the core of competitiveness.

Mitsui & Co. does not have a standardized business framework that requires us to work within particular product categories or industries. Provided that our employees are truly committed and ready to take up new challenges, anything that exists in society can become the focus of our business activities. The free ideas and positive actions of our employees are obviously the most important drivers for business creation. Many of our existing core business activities began with free ideas and positive actions by our employees.

We have already described the philosophy behind Mitsui & Co.’s cherished tradition of human resource development. Our open-minded corporate culture forms the base for our efforts to encourage the growth of active, independent individuals. We have an organizational culture in which all employees, regardless of age or rank, can express their views freely in the knowledge that their superiors will listen to those views and engage in serious debate. Only in such a culture is it possible to build the foundations of professionalism, by effectively passing on the philosophy and values that we need to apply to our work. In that sense, there is an integral relationship between our commitment to human resource development and our culture of open-mindedness.

The two concepts support each other and resonate together to create an environment in which employees can improve their abilities and take up new challenges. The many challenges and innovations that have driven Mitsui & Co.’s evolution throughout its long history would not have been possible without this supportive environment.

I want to eliminate from this
large organization
the bureaucratic way of thinking
about things.

Tatsuzo Mizukami