The following "New Year Message 2012" was addressed to all officers and employees by President Masami Iijima.
At the beginning of this New Year, I wish to offer my greetings to all the members of Mitsui.
The business environment
Before looking at the year ahead, I would like to look back at the difficult year that has just ended. Japan suffered immense tragedy in the earthquake, tsunami and the accident at the nuclear power plant, which had a deep effect on society and the economy. Many people are still suffering, and full recovery will require great persistence.
I am grateful for the donations and volunteer work undertaken by so many people in Mitsui, in Japan and around the world. I would like to reassure you of our commitment to continue supporting the affected regions.
The global economy also suffered in 2011. The Euro zone crisis intensified, U.S. government bonds were downgraded, and there was slower growth in emerging economies. Problems in individual countries rapidly spread across the world, vividly showing how the global economy has become interconnected and borderless.
Looking ahead, it is clear that the fiscal problems in developed economies cannot be resolved quickly. However, inflation pressures have eased with falling commodity prices, and it looks to me that the developed economies may experience a mild recovery. In emerging economies, growth has slowed but the underlying factors driving growth are still strong. This means that in the year ahead, we can again expect China and other emerging economies to lead global economic growth.
As we have seen from debate on the EPA, TPP and other trade agreements, a number of frameworks are being created to push economic growth.
I want to see Mitsui contributing to strong global economic development, making dedicated efforts in each of our core businesses.
The global economy has undergone significant structural change over recent years. Previously, traditional manufacturing industries such as housing and automobiles in the developed nations drove the world economy. This has changed. Today, new industries in emerging countries are the strong drivers.
To respond to these changes, we must constantly adapt our operations and create new business models.
I have previously outlined my belief that hesitation to change is a path to failure. We can never grow if we keep doing the same thing. We must question our preconceived ideas.
So in the year ahead, I ask you to stay closely attuned to the environment and to stay ahead of the times. There is no doubt that in these times of change, there are many new and unmet customer needs in front of us. We must constantly recognize these needs and use them to build our business.
In all our efforts to develop business, we must always come back to the idea of doing "yoi-shigoto", meaning, 'good quality work'. You should be dedicated to raising the quality of your work and the profits that result from it. The whole value of our company lies in our ability to continue creating added value for society . We need to take an ethical viewpoint and ask, how does this work contribute to society? Will it be appreciated by customers and business partners? And importantly, will it give me a sense of purpose and satisfaction?
Challenge and innovation
Throughout Mitsui's history, we have embraced a philosophy of challenge and innovation, combining our strengths with other great companies around the world in a wide range of bold business endeavors. Through these partnerships, we have contributed to the development of many countries around the world. We intend to play a similar role in all the years ahead.
In our frontline activities around the world, each of us needs to detect and get ahead of the changes, and take a truly dynamic approach to embracing the spirit of "challenge and innovation." By developing innovative industrial solutions we can create the new business that will help us succeed on the global stage.
Although our philosophy of challenge and innovation has stayed the same, our business has constantly changed. We now compete with companies around the world, and have business operations in many different sectors. I ask that all of you aim to earn the respect of society as a leading company.
We have proven many times that by bringing together our diverse strengths we can make full use of our capacities as a business enabler and meet the challenges that each new era brings. In this way we can contribute to successful business development around the world.
In closing, I would like to reflect again on the immense disaster in Japan last year. The response to the earthquake reminded me of the importance of communication, support, and corporate citizenship. As we make our way through 2012, I ask that each and every one of you communicates actively within and outside the company, and presents Mitsui as a good corporate citizen. Your continuous efforts are a vital part of making Mitsui stronger, more distinctive and more respected.
I wish you and your families every happiness in the year ahead.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Mitsui & Co., Ltd.