Message From thePresident

オーシャン貿易株式会社 代表取締役社長 米田多智夫

Thoughts at the End of the Heisei Era

Heisei, the current era in Japan, is about to end with the abdication of Emperor Akihito on April 30, 2019. The Heisei period, which will have lasted for 30 years, will be the first period since Japan’s modernization that the nation did not experience the horrors of war. Looking abroad, it was not long after the Heisei period began that the world saw the fall of the Berlin Wall, marking the thawing of the Cold War order. However, it was also during Heisei that new ethnic and religious conflicts arose, including a rise in terrorism brought on by militant groups like the Islamic State. Perhaps one of the factors was that countries and ethnic groups, which had been contained by the Cold War, found sudden freedom and release in the chaos after its end. Japan fortunately did not become directly embroiled in such conflicts, but neither was the nation completely free of involvement, including its overseas mobilization SDF troops.

Today, the world is said to be in a new Cold War, as new conflicts are triggered by the progression of globalism. As the economy and information become increasingly borderless and people and goods also move across national boundaries, the United States and China are intensifying competition to dominate not only trade but also information infrastructures. Meanwhile, Brexit and large-scale demonstrations in France are creating an even greater sense of uncertainty in the European Union, which is being shaken by the issue of immigrants. Behind all of this is the rapid progression of globalism over the past 30 years and its conflict with anti-globalism, as represented by US President Donald Trump’s “America first” policy. These battles will likely continue for a while.

While Japan did not experience war, it was met with two large-scale natural disasters—the Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake (1995) and the Great East Japan Earthquake (2011)—and the worst nuclear accident in history at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Torrential rains and earthquakes also continue to batter Japan every year.

オーシャン貿易株式会社 代表取締役社長 米田多智夫

Japan’s domestic economy looks set to be in the longest period of growth since the end of World War II, having already surpassed the span of the Izanagi boom (second longest; between November 1965 and July 1970). The longest has been the Izanami boom (between February 2002 and March 2008), which has also been referred to as a “false economic recovery.” The current run of growth is probably the result of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “Abenomics” economic policies, with the Bank of Japan’s “monetary easing in an entirely new dimension” as one of its pillars. However, achievement of the target of ending deflation is still far off. Real wages continue to stagnate, and the growth rate remains low at an average of around 1 percent. There are expectations held for the positive effects of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, but there is also concern of a deceleration of the global economy as an impact of the trade friction between the US and China.

Originality and courage open the way to the future during such troubled times. Who would have thought more than a decade ago of going to Vietnam for flower production? How were we, who were amateurs in Vietnam, able to take on the adventure into untested waters of building a large-scale horticultural facility on our own there? I can say with confidence that it was the result of exhibiting originality and courage. With a positive view to this opportunity, and with an eye to the future of the Asian and Japanese markets, we founded Sendo Ichi in Vietnam and Malaysia. A wholesaler of Japanese food products offering the highest freshness control technology, Sendo Ichi has won over a large number of customers.

Ocean Trading is not a trading company that simply moves products from one area to the next. Our commitment is to create our own high-quality products while delivering safer, more reliable products to customers. Neither originality nor courage can be possessed or exhibited if we engage in business idly. We must be aware of issues and continually carry out efforts for self-improvement. Our desire is to make learning on our own—rather than being taught—the style of work carried out at our company.

Above all, it is team work, the organization and the company that make the most of the originality and courage of individual members. The greatest of ideas can add up to nothing if the right time and location are not chosen. We seek sound marketing capabilities and strategies as well as the making of unerring decisions. The future of our company is dependent on the ceaseless efforts of each one of our employees, the leadership of our executives, and the foresight and determination of management.

オーシャン貿易株式会社 代表取締役社長 米田多智夫

Challenges, such as global warming, super-aging societies and food and energy issues, loom in humankind’s near future. Dealing with a super-aging society is a particularly pressing issue for Japan. However, we will find business opportunities in these challenges if we change our way of thinking. This is because the presence of issues means that there are needs and markets for overcoming those challenges. Global issues cannot be suddenly resolved. However, there will be endless future opportunities for us if we open our eyes steadily to what the age seeks and launch challenges upon them with originality and courage. That is my firm conviction.

January 2019