2021 President’s Message for New Employees

April 1, 2021

Congratulations on joining our team! I am pleased to welcome 115 new colleagues today: 102 members in general work position and 13 members in clerical work position.

We were hoping to be able to get together and hold an initiation ceremony in one place, but we decided not to, considering the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, Chairman & CEO Okafuji and I welcomed you this morning together with ITOCHU members from all of the world, lively broadcasted online at the area decorated with fully bloomed cherry blossoms and red carpet at the main entrance to celebrate your first step to become working members of society.

ITOCHU has been continuously recording strong business performance for more than 10 years.
Consolidated net profit exceeded 500 billion yen in Japanese fiscal year 2018 and 2019, respectively. For fiscal year 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, it reached 364.3 billion yen in the first nine months, making steady progress toward the full-year forecasts.

On the other hand, we must recognize that the business environment surrounding us is changing significantly.
With the accelerating diversification of consumer needs, companies are expected to facilitate a digital shift and move forward with business structure reform. This trend is gaining momentum due to the spread of COVID-19.
Reflecting a rise in social needs including de-carbonization, companies are also expected to provide solutions from medium- to long-term perspectives.

I would like you to be strongly aware that you have joined the company not when it is performing strongly but when it is facing a great turning point.

Here is what I would like to share with you:
“I am One with Infinite Missions,” Please always remember this ITOCHU’s Guideline of Conduct in your heart.

Recently, with SDGs becoming increasingly important in corporate management, we sometimes hear people say “Sampo Yoshi.” This phrase, which has roots in the management philosophy of ITOCHU Corporation’s founder Chubei Itoh, underpins our corporate mission. We have handed this down as the founding spirit and we will pass it on to future generations as our business motto. The Guideline of Conduct that we established to exercise the Sampo Yoshi spirit is represented as “I am One with Infinite Missions.”

It has been more than 160 years since the ITOCHU Corporation was founded. Looking back at its history, the company experienced many ups and downs. Despite that, our attitude of adhering to this Guideline of Conduct was a driving force that enabled us to overcome difficulties no matter how tough the business environment was.

“I am One with Infinite Missions” is important for ITOCHU as it experiences a great turning point at this very moment.
Always consider your mission and act in your assigned department, as well as in the course of operations that you will engage in at ITOCHU, going forward.
I strongly hope that you will respond to the range of expectations and trust of people around you, including clients and shareholders, by leveraging your flexible ideas, creativity and originality.

Lastly, I will touch on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and workstyles.

The COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing. For ITOCHU, employees are like family. Therefore, we have been adopting early morning work and changing the work system flexibly according to the situation to prioritize the safety of employees under the circumstance which our employees are required to come to the office..
Given this situation, you may continue to experience restrictions at office and communicating with people around you for some time after you are assigned to a department. Nevertheless, under such situation, it is important to have increased self-awareness and aspirations. ITOCHU offers abundant assignments and learning opportunities that facilitate growth. I sincerely hope that you will take advantage of growth opportunities in person proactively, achieve what you wish to accomplish at ITOCHU, and develop your career successfully.

I would like to close this address by once again welcoming you and congratulating you on joining ITOCHU Corporation. Thank you.