2021 New Year’s Message from President & CEO Kenji Asakura to all NAGASE employees is as follows.
Happy New Year to all employees of the Nagase Group. The year 2020, a year that people will never forget for the rest of their lives and a special year that is deeply engraved in the history of mankind has ended and a new year has begun. I wish all of you a healthy, peaceful and hopeful year.
The COVID-19 is still spreading on a global scale. I would like to express my sincere sympathy to employees around the world as well as their families, who have been affected and I hope for their speedy recovery. I would also like to express my deepest respect to the healthcare professionals who are working hard day and night to protect people’s lives.
As for the business world, many industries and companies have been damaged by COVID-19. We, the NAGASE Group, have also encountered many difficulty, however, we were able to continue to grow as a corporate group in 2020. This is due to the efforts and hard work of all the employees of the Group. As the leader of the Group, I am very proud of you. Thank you very much.
In terms of our business performance, Greater China has led the entire Group. A year ago, the COVID-19 pandemic started in Wuhan, China, but after several months of severe restrictions, the Chinese economy quickly recovered and was almost back to normal before the summer. Although working remotely, our group companies operating throughout China maintained strong relationship with their business partners, and has achieved results that far exceed the initial plan, contributing significantly to the Group’s overall performance.
Our colleague, the blind runner Shinya Wada must have struggled to maintain his motivation and to make necessary adjustments because of the postponement of Tokyo Paralympics, but he has made solid progress, including setting a new Asian record. I look forward to his success in the coming summer Paralympics.
ACE-2020, our mid-term management plan with “Change” as its slogan and goal, will soon come to an end. Unfortunately, it is difficult to achieve our financial target. While there were many successes and major advances, there were also some unsuccessful initiatives and measures. I do not intend to discuss each of them here today. However, I would like each organization to once again conduct a thorough review to identify the true causes of accomplishments and failures, and make use of it for the execution of the next mid-term plan.
In this final fiscal year of ACE-2020, I would like to share with you one thing that I am pleased to see: the A (Accountability) of ACE-2020, or independence in another word, is starting to take root in many organizations and individuals. In the midst of the COVID-19, while thinking about post-COVID or the New Normal, each of our employees became more conscious of changes than ever before and felt the necessity to transform, which may have encouraged them to take actions with independence. Currently, many projects have been launched and are in progress, including DX project and various projects from NTV (*1). Many of these projects are cross-organizational and are run by members who have raised their hands. The fact that many people are willing to take time to participate in new projects and take on new challenges, while they are busy with day-to-day activities within each organization, is a true sign of their independence and I am very encouraged by this. It’s not just about participating in projects. The attitude to absorb new technologies and knowledge is also steadily spreading within the Group. I’m starting to see many new proposals from the administrative departments as well. I hope this movement will expand further this year, and I will continue to support them.
Expectations are high for vaccines and therapeutics, but we will continue to face a number of constraints due to COVID-19, at least in the first half of this year. In spite of this challenging environment, we will start our new mid-term management plan from April. The theme of the plan will be “Pursuit of Quality” with the aim of advancing technologies in various fields, accelerating environmentally friendly businesses and increasing the social value required of companies. I am happy to say that people from all generations have participated in the planning process that started last year, and we have already received a number of encouraging plans. There is only a little time left until the start, but I hope you will continue to discuss within the organization and formulate bold plans, and move them forward. 2032 will mark the 200th anniversary of our founding, and we must not stop moving forward. As I have always said, let’s challenge the new mid-term plan with “participation by everyone”.
Despite the Corona disaster, the global situation is changing drastically every day. The relationship between the U.S. under a new leader, China, Japan, as well as East Asia, ASEAN, Europe and other regions, are something to keep an eye on. Addressing social and environmental issues has become a major element in corporate activities and is an important theme that we cannot neglect.
In order to respond quickly to the changes in the business environment, the NAGASE Group has invested a lot of resources to DX-related activities as a group-wide initiative and is making preparation. We have also launched sustainability initiatives, which we plan to disseminate throughout the Group. However, this is not enough. Now is the time for us to “identify” and “Develop” by quickly identifying the changes and needs of each region, market and business partner and quickly figuring out what you should do and what you can do. I hope that the entire group will start the year by reconfirming this.
With that in mind, this year’s slogan is “BE READY!”. This slogan expresses the feeling of luck to be able to witness the turning point of the times and moving toward the new normal together. Please keep this in mind as you spend the year.
No matter how strong your aspirations are, no matter how attractive the opportunity you find, you can’t accomplish anything unless you are physically and mentally healthy. In Japan, the declaration of a state of emergency is being considered again. Further restrictions will be issued soon in some areas. Please do not underestimate COVID-19 and do not act carelessly. Please take appropriate measures against COVID-19 under the direction of each local government and company.
Let’s hold back the joy of gathering for a while longer. It is frustrating that I am not able to visit your sites, but I will be patient a little longer and wait for the day when we can move freely, talk and gather around.
To conclude my message, I would like to extend my best wishes for a peaceful and healthy 2021 to everyone in the NAGASE Group and their family, and I hope that the day that people all over the world will be able to return to their safe and secure lifestyles will come soon.
January 4, 2021
(*) NAGASE Technical Vitality Program