A Lesson to Be Learned

A&V Festa 2003 ended in resounding success. The number of people who purchased admission tickets reached 62,000, far exceeding the initial forecasts. I would like to extend heartfelt congratulations to the organizers and all those related to the event.

The road to A&V Festa 2003 was a very bumpy one. The Audio Expo in 2001 had been such a miserable affair, attracting only 20,000 visitors, that it had to be cancelled in the following year. Although the slump in the audio business was a background factor, the main reason lay in the fabric of the Japan Audio Society (JAS), which remained trapped in old-fashioned ways. The ideas that emanated from this archaic structure were far too removed from the times and had come to lack attraction. Makers also were becoming averse to the event. The higher up the ladder of management you went, the more evident was this loss of enthusiasm. That was a natural outcome. We must see this as an object lesson in the promotion of corporate management.

The situation changed when Mr. Nobuo Kanoi was appointed as chairman of the JAS. Reforms made progress, the society itself became extremely slimmer, and costs were reduced. Rooted in the essential questions of what the JAS should be doing for audio and audiovisual fans and how it should be contributing to the development of the business, the reforms steadily yielded results.

It was in these circumstances that the JAS came to the conclusion that an event like the Audio Expo was indispensable, and the new JAS regime decided to stage the fair as A&V Festa 2003. That was in the spring of 2002.

At first makers were not very enthusiastic. Perhaps they were put off by the idea of holding the event in a new place, Yokohama, or by the image of the old expo. Anyway, they were very cool to the proposal. But the JAS was determined that the event should be a success; indeed, the society knew that it must be successful. Every day, therefore, Mr. Masatoshi Hirabayashi, the chairman of the fair's executive committee, and others would visit the top management of makers and ask for their participation. The responses were varied -- some said yes, some said they would wait and see, some said no. But it was this assiduous approach that became the source of success and gathered the momentum for holding the event.

Just before the opening of the fair, Chairman Kanoi beamed when he commented, "The number of participating makers has exceeded the number at the time of the expo, so it sure to be a lively event. Now we just have to wait and see how many visitors come." There was a lot of confidence in his words. And indeed, the number of visitors far surpassed expectations, and the event turned out to be a huge success.

When you look back, in a rather theatrical way, at the process that led to the success of A&V Festa 2003, in the manner of the "Project X" program on NHK television, you probably come to the Project X-like conclusion that "this success is the beginning of a new battle."

As an epilogue, I must add that the business has obtained a wonderful asset for the waging of this battle. Driven by self-interest, the participants joined forces and cooperated for the success of A&V Festa 2003. As a result, everyone could enjoy the fruits of success. In other words, the lesson of the fair is that if the business pulls together, wonderful things can be achieved. From now on, let us stride forward to make A&V Festa 2004 another big success.