Welcome and congratulations. It is my distinct privilege to welcome you as the newest members of the Nagase Group today.
In a new approach to our welcome ceremony this year, we have decided to hold a Group-wide proceeding, bringing together participants from all of the Nagase Group companies. You may be joining different companies, but we want you all to feel a part of the Nagase Group.
The Nagase Group consists of 1,000 employees within Nagase & Co., Ltd. with a total of 2,600 employees across all Group companies in Japan. Adding the nearly 2,000 Nagase employees overseas, we boast a total of 5,600 members in our family, each of whom are capitalizing on the nature and function of their locale, working together toward greater growth. You are the newest members of our Group; I ask that you help each other and work together.
Nagase & Co., Ltd., the central company in our group, will be observing the 180th anniversary of this company this year. We began as a dye wholesaler in Kyoto, but our ability to survive these many years is a testament to our ability to anticipate the future, to continue to innovate, and to hold true to our management philosophy, “Maintain good and fair business practices.”
This year, we welcomed 600 new members to our family when the Okayama-based Hayashibara Co., Ltd. became part of the Nagase Group. We began in the natural dye business, but shifted over the years into organic chemicals based on petroleum and other raw materials. Moving forward, we will push into the environment and energy fields using bio technologies to help grow our business as a whole, becoming another pillar of the Nagase Group.
As you know, we are all still struggling to deal with the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and the nuclear disaster. Our prominence on the global stage has fallen. No one can forecast the direction of global politics, economics, or other world trends with certainty. But, over the last 180 years, we have met and overcome many difficulties. The Nagase Group is a member of the world society. As such, it is our duty to maintain good and fair business practices and, through continued growth and development, provide society with the goods and services needed while improving the welfare of our employees. And each of you have a vital role to play in helping us reach our future goals.
I encourage all of you to study hard and learn well; to work together with your peers in building the next generation of the Nagase Group.