The following “New Year Message 2016” was addressed to all officers and employees by President Kenji Asakura

Happy New Year to all NAGASE Group employees.

I am sure that all of you are greeting the New Year with new attitudes and determination. I hope that 2016 is a fruitful year for you personally, as well as for our company.

Allow me a brief moment to look back on last year. Victims of global terror now number more than 30,000 annually. For us, accustomed to living in safety and peace, we can no longer view this as just somebody else’s problem.

After years of difficulties, the Trans-Pacific Partnership was finally ratified. This will lead to major changes in our business environment.

At the same time, 2015 was a year in which the spotlight was cast on corporate ethics brighter than I can ever recall. While the circumstances differ, we saw how a number of corporations lost the faith and trust built over many years in the blink of an eye. This, too, is not just somebody else’s business. A part of our management philosophy states that we will maintain the highest standards of integrity. This is a time for us to reconsider our governance structure and treat it with more seriousness.

Last year marked the first presidential succession at Nagase & Co. in 16 years. Despite the continuing benefit of a weak yen, our earnings performance has been far from favorable. I ask you all to work together to achieve our goals.

On a different note, I ask you to think back on the presentation I gave here on April 1 last year. I think many of you will remember how I talked about full participation by our employees and front-line focus. If you recall, I also said that my personal mission was first to bring about change in our company. I believe that I accomplished a number of things to create change and reinvention in myself. Think about your own surroundings. Do you feel an urgency to make a change? Did you attempt to bring about a change in yourself and your organization rather than just waiting for something to happen? We have no time to lose in addressing the issues brought about by changes in our external environment. This year, I intend to introduce a number of challenges to bring about a Group-wide transformation to an even greater degree than last year. I have high expectations that every Group employee will be resolute in creating a transformation in your own locations.

Last, I have one more thing to say: One step forward. Personally, I intend to go beyond one step forward, taking two and three steps ahead. I ask you to join me in taking that one step forward.

In conclusion, let me leave you with my wishes for a healthy and peaceful year for you and your families.