The following "New Year Message 2011" was addressed to all officers and employees by President Masami Iijima.
Today, at the beginning of the new year, I would like to reflect upon the events of the past twelve months and also look ahead to our aspirations for the future.
Recognition of the business environment
First, the business environment.
We can look back on 2010 as a year of steady and mild recovery in the global economy. This came despite a number of critical issues, including a deepening of the financial crisis in parts of Europe continued weak employment levels in developed economies and instability arising from currency movements.
It is now nearly two and a half years since the Lehman Shock. During this period the global economy experienced real GDP growth of minus 0.6% in 2009, and estimated positive growth of 4.8% in 2010. For the current year, the I.M.F. is forecasting growth of 4.2%.
To some degree, Japan has benefited from the global economic revival, but this has been tempered by the serious issues of ongoing deflation and significant appreciation of the yen.
Also, as shown by trade policy debates last year, it has become clear that
not all Japanese are fully prepared to believe in the economic benefits that could be gained from opening further to the global economy. Because of this, Japan is at risk of being left behind by the global trend.
So my question then becomes how should Japan as a nation continue to play a significant role in the international economic community, and what should Mitsui aspire to achieve as a global company?
I believe we need to adopt a sense of constructive urgency while considering our approach within a broad framework.
Bold and Proactive
In our Medium-Term Management Plan that we announced one year ago, I called for the creation of a ‘stronger Mitsui’ and a ‘more distinctive and respected Mitsui’. Now, as we turn our attention to the demands of a new year, we need to devote all our energies to achieving our targets and realizing our Long-Term Management Vision.
Over our long history, we have continuously created new value in the face of several major upheavals to Japanese industry. We have provided industrial solutions to meet the changing needs of the times while progressively advancing our capabilities. To continue this tradition, we need to leverage our imagination expertise and global perspective to take Mitsui to a new level.
Our progress to date has been marked by steadily pursuing our portfolio strategy optimizing our assets and businesses and allocating our human resources to growth areas. I believe that 2011 is a year to be bold and proactive.
With a focused approach, we should move quickly to make Mitsui stronger. In each of our business areas, and regardless of business size, I want each of you to share your skills and combine your efforts to set the highest possible standard. We must aim to be recognized as a leading company to pursue Yoi-Shigoto, and earn the respect and appreciation of society.
We should contribute to the development of the regions and communities we work in, and pursue our business boldly and proactively. I want 2011 to be another year where we build up our outstanding track record of successful projects.
Stronger at the forefront of business
Over the past year, I have repeatedly mentioned the ‘forefront of business’, and I would like to refer to this important subject once again.
Mitsui has a long history of emphasizing forefront activities. In fact, dynamism in our business activites is the primary source of our overall competitive strength. So I ask every one of you to give your best to the forefront and show Mitsui’s energy to the outside world.
I am determined to provide as much support as possible to enable everyone at the forefront to express Mitsui’s true spirit of Challenge and Innovation. And working alongside you I will of course do my best represent the energy and insight that I see every day in our organization.
Globalization of Human Resources
One of the key initiatives in our Medium-Term Management Plan is to accelerate our global strategy and deployment of human resources. In pursuit of this, we have been introducing a number of measures. For example, we are shifting personnel to growth regions in Asia and elsewhere, we are increasing opportunities for overseas staff to work at the head office and we are giving motivated staff overseas experience in the early stages of their careers.
We will continue with these activities because the globalization of human resources is an essential part of Mitsui’s global strategy. Indeed, in striving to become a truly global group, we must not allow constraints on our human resources to become a bottleneck on our global growth.
For this reason, we must continue to cultivate the professional skills and capabilities of our people.
Over the course of 2010 I was privileged to meet and learn from many people at the forefront of our business. In the year ahead, I hope to meet with many more of you, as we pool our efforts to make Mitsui a more distinctive and respected company.
In closing, I would like to thank you for your support during 2010, and wish you and your families health and happiness for the year ahead.
President and Chief Executive Officer