Message From thePresident

OceanTrading Co.,Ltd.
President 米田多智夫

Last year, the world at large was at the mercy of the words and actions of Donald Trump, who took office in January as the President of the United States. His approval rating plummeted from the outset, due to his radical remarks and repeated firing of key members of his administration. The Trump administration’s high-handed, protectionist approach to foreign policy has created frictions around the world. North Korea conducted 16 missile tests last year, and while President Trump visited Japan and other countries around Asia, he failed to keep in step with the region on the North Korea issue. In Japan, tension is mounting with pundits arguing for fortifying missile defense, and it almost feels as if a war could start any time.

At home, the Democratic Party of Japan disbanded, and the Party of Hope, led by Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, tried to recreate its success in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election on the national stage, but turned the tide against itself when Koike commented that she intended to “exclude” liberals. In the end, the Liberal Democratic Party ran away with a landslide victory in last year’s lower-house election.

The Abe administration has been at the helm of the Japanese economy for five year now. While corporate performance is strong, with the Nikkei stock average reaching a 20-year high, no growth is seen in real wages and household spending has remained low. As such, we are far from putting an end to deflation and achieving a full economic recovery.

Last year, the world’s confidence in the quality of Japanese brands was shaken by repeated exposures of fraudulent practices by major corporations. Even under such circumstances, I believe there are differences between companies (people) that grow and those that don’t. It is important to examine those differences and take action with speed and a clear strategy.

Media reports paint a rosy picture of overseas expansion by Japanese companies, but those that manage to overcome barriers of culture, custom, and education and achieve real success in developing countries are few and far between.

Eyeing the future of the Japanese market, Ocean Trading expanded overseas 10 years ago and opened a large-scale horticultural facility in Vietnam (for the cultivation of flowers and ornamental plants). Using it as a foothold, we opened SENDO ICHI (a wholesaler of Japanese food products), first in Vietnam, followed by Malaysia. We offer freshness management technologies and carry out product development and sales. Today, SENDO ICHI is highly regarded by local customers as a company that they cannot do without in order to provide “real Japanese food.”

There is no use casting a fishing line into waters that are devoid of fish. If we had not ventured into Vietnam 10 years ago, the kinds of achievements that we are accomplishing today would not have been possible. It shows just how important timing, strategy and inspiration are for success.

オーシャン貿易株式会社 代表取締役社長 米田多智夫

However, there will be no future for a company that remains complacent with the status quo and fails to take up challenges and develop new businesses for future generations. This year, we will embark on a new business of shrimp farming in tropical regions. As when we launched the cultivation of flowers and ornamental plants, we will be starting with no expertise in this field. But I believe that is precisely why we can thoroughly pursue the essential qualities of “reliability and safety” and “excellent taste.” With this belief, we will take the first step this year.

As the famous Japanese quote goes, “A business is its people.” Any kind of challenge or crisis can be overcome if a company is armed with employees who possess an abundance of intelligence, sensibility and experience.

Seventy-three years have passed since the end of World War II. Very few who know firsthand the hardships experienced during and after the war are still with us today. Now is the time in which thoroughgoing employee awareness raising and education are essential. This is particularly true considering the significant decline in sensibilities and the ability to think caused by the widespread use of personal computers. There will be no future for us if we are unable to resolve such issues. This is why we are making a sharp change, from “education that is taught” to the “education of self.” As part of this, we will implement domestic and overseas on-site training, ultimately aiming to nurture “special-ops” (elite) employees (troops) who have rich experience, sensibilities and enterprising spirit. Through these efforts, Ocean Trading will continue to create outstanding products that no other companies will be able to produce.

January 2018