2022 President’s Message for New Employees

April 1, 2022

Congratulations on joining our team. I am pleased to welcome 104 new colleagues today: 94 members in general work position and 10 members in clerical work position.

Chairman & CEO Okafuji and I were at the main entrance this morning to celebrate your first step as a working member of the society. For the first time in this three years since 2019, we finally could hold a welcoming ceremony. I am greatly pleased that we are having this opportunity to gather and celebrate together in face-to-face.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to share two important knowledge and lesson that I would like you all to remember.

First is “I am One with Infinite Missions” which is ITOCHU’s guideline of conduct. This is one of the most important phrases that I always remember when revitalizing and improving myself.

Chubei Itoh, the founder of ITOCHU Corporation, believed "Business is act of Bodhisattva. Nobility of merchant is enabling both those who sell and those who buy to profit and fulfilling the needs of society which will please the mind of Buddha." I understand that the mission of merchants is to solve social issues and enrich people's lives through the business activities. That is to say, each ITOCHU employee is expected to be highly aware that we are tasked with the mission of taking on and solving countless social issues through the fulfillment of their assignments.

Starting today, you will go through an apprenticeship to become an ITOCHU merchant. I expect that you will develop many skills through your everyday operations to become a merchant who understands needs of customers and the society promptly, and who acquire knowledge and skill to find out issues and solve the those issues. Employees of ITOCHU, the top-rated sogo shosha(general trading companies) working with a variety of industries globally, are expected to be highly skilled across a broad range of subjects, including international trade, finance, economics, the industries it is involved in, geopolitics, cross-cultural knowledge, basic business skills and language skills.

You may find yourself stuck or experience setbacks in the course of the development of your career as a merchant. When you face with difficulties, I believe the "I am One with Infinite Missions" guideline will reminds you of the importance of going back to the basics and energizes you to overcome difficulties. Please always keep this phrase in your mind.

Secondly, I would like to talk about the Sampo Yoshi spirit.

Recently, with SDGs becoming increasingly important in corporate management, we sometimes hear people say “Sampo Yoshi.” This Sampo Yoshi spirit, which is based on the idea of co-existence and co-prosperity, is a situation where sellers, buyers and society are all equally satisfied. This is ITOCHU's current corporate mission and it is rooted in the management philosophy of the Omi merchants that are typified by Chubei Itoh. It is not just a commercial spirit. It is also a harmony-oriented mindset that has been passed down as ITOCHU's founding spirit for over 160 years.

This stakeholder-centric management style supported by the integrity-based Sampo Yoshi spirit has enabled ITOCHU to earn the trust of stakeholders over many years, making ITOCHU what it is today. The operation of a business is based on trust. A business that is not based on trust will fail before long. I’m sure that you can earn trust if you consider the benefits for customers and suppliers instead of focusing on pursuing only your own benefit and pay attention to whether or not the business that you engage in contributes to society. Then you will certainly earn trust. This trust will lead to future trust-building opportunities, creating a chain of successes.

In the course of the businesses that you will be involved in going forward, you will face many situations where you will need to use your judgment and make decisions. I advise you to use ITOCHU's Sampo Yoshi concept as one of the judgement criteria in these situations. Please be sure to include this in the things that you keep in your mind starting today.
ITOCHU has been continuously recording strong business performance for the past 10 years. Consolidated net profit exceeded 500 billion yen in fiscal 2018 and 2019. We maintained momentum in fiscal 2020 and recorded net profit of 401.4 billion yen by minimizing the impact of COVID-19, which put us number one among sogo shosha in terms of consolidated net profit, share price and market capitalization. ITOCHU took this triple crown for the first time in its history. We are expecting another record high in profits for fiscal 2021 on a full-year basis.

Though we were able to achieve these good results by overcoming the difficulties we had experienced in the past, there are no guarantees at all that we will continue to achieve the same in future. It is expected that our top sogo shosha rivals will continue to compete relentlessly to achieve better results in fiscal 2022. In addition, the global business environment surrounding us is changing significantly and becoming increasingly chaotic day by day. But even in this situation, each of us must advance our current businesses and continue to move forward while sparing no effort to see things from a broader perspective. Looking ahead, we look forward to fulfilling infinite missions together with you.

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