This year our company’s business policy explanatory meeting, which we hold in the middle of February every year, was attended by 66 persons from 46 companies. The seven years since this meeting began in 2007 have been a really turbulent period. At the beginning of my address this year, I spoke as follows:
“We began our annual business policy explanatory meetings in 2007, so this is the seventh such meeting. In 2007 everything seemed like plain sailing ahead, but in 2009, the year when we announced our ‘sunflower marketing strategy,’ a worldwide financial crisis and global recession occurred, triggered by the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in September 2008. Under these unprecedentedly severe conditions, our industry also faced an extremely difficult situation. Then in 2011, when we were just emerging from the crisis and getting ready to reboot, the unprecedented Great East Japan Earthquake struck on March 11, and the disaster was compounded by the nuclear power plant accident. The child-like management of national affairs by the government of that time added to our woes, as did the strong yen, and we found ourselves in another dark and gloomy recession with no signs of an exit.
“I think the three years from 2010 to 2012 were an especially tumultuous period. Like all of you here, our company also suffered from the impact. To be honest, we were quite desperate in those years.
“Despite these difficult circumstances, though, we stuck by our founding motto of ‘contributing to the constructive development of the industry,’ firmly abided by the principle of being ‘always beside the customer,’ announced at the time of the Lehman shock, and, on the basis of our strong beliefs, built our Sunflower Marketing System, which now, at long last, is beginning to blossom.
“In May of last year, when we began a new term, we integrated the operations of our company into three divisions. This reorganization gave form to our SMS management, which subsequently began to function properly and produce results. The three divisions are the Phile-web Division, headed by Vice-President Kinji Shinbo; the Audio Division, headed by Senior Managing Director Hiromasa Kashiide; and the SP Division, headed by Senior Managing Director Mitsuharu Nagai. Vice-President Shinbo is responsible for overseeing business as a whole.
“I am proud of the fact that our company has a wealth of young and talented human resources. These young people, who will lead the next generation, are steadily gaining strength and opening new vistas on the future.
“In 2013 we have a new government, which has started to manage national affairs in a more adult-like manner. Conditions remain severe, but clearly a ray of light has begun to shine. This is a truly wonderful thing. The preciousness and thankfulness of being able to envisage dreams are irreplaceable. And I fully believe that being able to wish for people’s happiness is a source of immense strength too.
“From this year, our company will begin forcefully to shift from the ‘three turbulent years’ that we have been through to ‘three stirring years’ ahead. Under the slogans of ‘contributing to the constructive development of the industry’ and being ‘always beside the customer,’ we intend to further elevate our sunflower marketing strategy and contribute fully to your prosperity.
“For both our industry and our company, everything really does start from here. I hope that we can take steady steps forward together with you all, our eyes set firmly on the future.”
In the meeting, the directors in charge of our business divisions and young editors then gave powerful presentations to give the audience a good understanding of our company’s vibrant position. Since the Phile-web site, launched in 2000 in recognition that only those publishing companies with online strength were going to survive, is the core of our operations, we intend to strongly promote our future-oriented SMS strategy.