Congratulations on joining the Nagase family of companies.

We are very pleased today to welcome you as the newest members of the Nagase Group.

At new-hire ceremony this year, we greet almost as many employees from Group companies as we do for our parent company. Today, you have joined nearly 5,600 co-workers at various locations and Nagase Group companies throughout the world.

Over the past ten years, our Group has concentrated much of our efforts on creating a stronger manufacturing function. We have always valued our relations with business partners in the chemicals, electronics, and automobile fields, as well as our related technologies. As a trading company, we have made the most of our traditional strengths in sales and networking. But, by adding a strong manufacturing base, we have improved our capacity to build physical goods as another way of creating business. Making physical goods adds to our ability to contribute to higher quality services in the markets and for our clients, while allowing us to contribute more to society.

Today, we are pleased to welcome representatives from our manufacturing companies, Nagase ChemteX, Hayashibara, Setsunan Kasei, and Nagase Medicals.

You are no doubt aware of the devalued yen and higher share prices in Japan as a result of Abenomics. The mood in our country is more positive than it has been in a while. The truth is, however, that our economy is still far from strong. The industries in which we specialize–chemicals and electronics, for example–continue to struggle. Group domestic sales have been slow since the latter part of last year. Growth in China has slowed, and the fiscal crisis in Europe continues to cloud our view of the future of the global economy.

Regardless of the news, our focus is on the fusion of our trading company and manufacturing company functions. We continue to improve in these areas daily. Our core businesses lie in organic chemicals, electronics, and automobiles, but we are also investing our resources in biochemical-based foods, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and other life and healthcare businesses. We are creating new businesses, while keeping aligned with our Group philosophy of maintaining good and fair business practices.

I encourage you all to learn quickly and make a positive contribution as soon as possible. Look around. This is your new-hire class. Help each other. Cooperate for your benefit and the good of the Nagase Group.

I look forward to working with you. Let’s work hard and accomplish great things together.