Sojitz Corporation


2020 Welcoming Statement for New Employees – President’s Address

Apr. 2, 2020
Sojitz Corporation


Congratulations, everyone. My name is Masayoshi Fujimoto, and I am President & CEO of Sojitz Corporation. It is with great pleasure that I welcome all of you. Including those who joined in January, we have a total of 111 new employees—85 new colleagues in the management track and 26 administrative staff.

This is a memorable day on which you will be acquainted with lifelong friends—those joining the company alongside you and more senior colleagues.

With the rising spread of novel coronavirus around the world, we are seeing an impact across multiple areas as measures are instituted to contain the spread of infection. A decision was made to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics to next year. Unfortunately, I regret that we were unable to gather all of you together yesterday to hold the entrance ceremony as planned.

I am relieved that we can safely welcome all of you. Thank you for your cooperation by rescheduling or canceling your graduation trips to ensure your health over the past two weeks. On behalf of all Sojitz Group members, I want to extend a warm welcome to all 111 of the new employees joining us.

Sojitz’s Evolution—Changing Roles and Expectations

Currently, the world is undergoing what is called the fourth industrial revolution. Indeed, words like GAFA, Big Data, AI, and IoT are being increasingly used in the public sphere, and we are anticipating the dawning of a new age.

At Sojitz, we’ve had notable personalities such as Yoichi Ochiai speak at Sojitz Academy events. We’ve also invited young employees to backcast from the year 2050 to come up with ideas about the direction our company should take as part of the Hassojitz Project, which saw employees conduct research beginning last October and culminated in a presentation event held in March.

Four interesting projects utilizing new technologies were launched.

How will general trading companies evolve with these changing times?

In what is known as the third industrial revolution, personal computers, internet, and email became commonplace as people all over the world grew more connected. Furthermore, the age of mobile phones made person-to-person communication even more convenient. While these changes have caused general trading companies to lose dominance in terms of information acquisition, trading companies have expanded the range of their business activities.

Tools like AI and big data improve work efficiency. By using AI and big data effectively, we can further improve efficiency to build new logistics systems and businesses. This is the mission of a general trading company.

And this leads me to what I ask of the 111 new employees joining our company.

Specifically, I’d like to bring your attention to the five Sojitz Guiding Principles.

The first is Innovation—Innovate with foresight. We need to hone our sensibilities, to think through to the heart of what the market needs and foresee how people, goods, and money will move and what will happen to their value.

The second is Speed—Strive for speed. The speed of change is such that we cannot afford to stay passive. We must work proactively to respond to changes quickly.

The third is Challenge—Take calculated risks. The worst you could do is to be the kind of person whose complacency makes you unwilling to disrupt the status quo. Changing the status quo means taking on new challenges each day. Try to keep this challenge-focused mentality in mind.

The fourth is Perseverance—Persevere until successful. As I mentioned earlier, it can be difficult to accept some changes, and we will need the strength to see things through to the end.

The fifth is Trust—Build enduring trust. The most important thing is to earn the trust of the people around you. As a Sojitz employee, most of the work you will be responsible for is work that you simply cannot complete alone. You will experience a real sense of achievement and worth when you complete your first big project, having won the understanding and cooperation of your colleagues. I want you to funnel your passion into your work regardless of where you are assigned or if your work is not going as planned, as well as meet people with integrity, in order to earn their trust. In this way, you will learn a lot and develop a solid foundation for growth as a Sojitz person.

Together, these five points I just mentioned represent the Sojitz Guiding Principles.

The novel coronavirus is running rampant, and we do not currently know how long these conditions will last. We cannot foresee the impact this virus will have on the world’s economy or the future. We live in an age not only with the novel coronavirus, but when it is not unusual for large-scale changes to occur such as trade issues stemming from disasters or diplomacy, or business models that must be changed due to technological innovations. Accurately predicting the future is far more complicated today. In order to navigate these times, I therefore ask that you embody the spirit of the five points mentioned in the Sojitz Guiding Principles. Strive for self-improvement, innovate, and create opportunity without fear of change in order to bravely weather this new age.

<In Conclusion>

Lastly, from April you are all Sojitz employees. While there may be some challenges in carrying out your training from home, I ask that you all spend this training period responsibly by taking precautions against becoming infected or infecting others with the coronavirus.

Your comrades will surely become irreplaceable allies. Take time during your training to deepen your bonds with your new colleagues.

Another piece of advice—Always meet others with integrity.

“The Sojitz Group creates value and prosperity by connecting the world with a spirit of integrity.” That’s the Sojitz Group Statement.

Let us build Sojitz’s future together.

Once again, I would like to congratulate and welcome you to Sojitz.

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