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

The spreading of Covid 19 has yet to come to a stop. The number of infected people worldwide has exceeded 80 million, and the death toll is over 1.7 million. Vaccination has begun in the United Kingdom and the United States, but we still cannot foresee this pandemic coming to an end.

The world economy is down and politics has been at the mercy of Covid 19. The US presidential election was held, and former Vice President Joe Biden of the Democratic Party defeated Republican President Donald Trump and became president. As a trading company, we have great concern for the future of the United States, especially in the sense that the United States policy towards China will also influence Japanese politics and the economy.

The four years of the Trump administration brought about unprecedented changes in its policy toward China. Coercive approaches such as raising tariffs and excluding Huawei and ZTE products from the United States. China responded also by increasing tariff rates, which led to escalated trade friction between the two countries.

China has advanced into the South China Sea, introduced the National Security Law in Hong Kong, and continues to put pressure on the Senkaku Islands. The United States is an ally to Japan, but China is also a partner of Japan that accounts for 20-23% of Japan's imports and exports. We strongly hope that the US-China conflict becomes resolved.

Prime Minister Abe, who holds the record for the longest number of days in office, resigned in the midst of the Covid 19 chaos. Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga became the 99th Prime Minister, and the Suga administration was inaugurated. Prime Minister Suga declared that by 2050, Japan as a whole will cut down greenhouse gases to zero and become carbon-neutral, and announced the establishment of the Digital Agency.

In my message last spring, I mentioned "environment" and "information" as the key factors that will determine the paradigm until the middle of the 21st century. As a trading company that is closely related to the fishing and agriculture industry, and must be quick to catch global trends, we must be more sensitive to these two factors.

オーシャン貿易株式会社 代表取締役社長 米田多智夫

In the future, corporate management cannot survive by following the precedent. Companies themselves must continuously change in response to the changing times. Our company, founded in 1972, will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year. Although it was in the red for the first few years after establishment, we have been in the black for more than 40 years, by developing products such as marine products, fruits and vegetables, flowers and trees, and developing our global market.

During the Covid 19 pandemic, our business was held back but not all were negative. For example, due to the increase in demand from consumers staying at home, "Aurora salmon", salmon grown in the Arctic sea, and trout salmon processed in Ukraine continued to increase sales towards mass retailers. The chrysanthemum flowers which we cultivate at our large horticultural facility in Vietnam received positive evaluation for high quality from the domestic market. Exports towards Europe and the United States fell, but exports of various food goods to major mass retailers in Southeast Asia increased. In the end, we were able to finish 2020 with higher sales and profit than the previous year.

The era of "post Corona" or "with Corona". Companies must have a firm vision for the future. For example, how to reconcile greenhouse gas reduction with energy issues. It is not a problem that can be solved by a single company, but having an awareness of the problem may lead to the development of new businesses and markets. Our company has developed mainly in the fishery and agriculture business, but we will continue to seek ways to collaborate with specialists from other fields than food.

オーシャン貿易株式会社 代表取締役社長 米田多智夫

Our corporate philosophy of "Sampo Yoshi" (benefit for all three sides) has not changed. "Good for the seller", "good for the buyer", "good for the society ", are the ideas of Omi merchants that have been passed down since the Edo period. Since we are a company, it is natural to seek profit, but it is also important to give back. We must give back to all stakeholders; including producers, business partners, employees, and shareholders.

In particular, I strongly feel that "good for the society" shows the true reason for the existence of a company. When dealing with companies from Europe, I keenly realized how naive our business was. Inside the huge contracts we had to sign, had questions regarding the number of female managers and the current state of employment for people with disabilities. In line with the SDGs adopted by the United Nations in 2015, we have formed a specialized team to actively embark on social contribution.

Whether a company can grow depends on its human resources. Frankly speaking, I feel that our employees have grown. Even during this difficult economic situation, we were able to achieve positive results. I believe this is due to continuous efforts from our management executives and growth of our younger employees.

Half a century since the establishment of our company, looking toward the next century, we will continue to spread our roots and grow our branches.

5th January 2021