New Year's Greeting

Happy new year everyone!

To the employees of the Toyota Tsusho Group all around the world and to all their family members, I extend to you the warmest of greetings upon the start of 2020.

In welcoming the new year, I would like to talk about my request to all of you for this year while looking back on last year.

A Look Back on 2019

Last year, Japan transitioned from Heisei to Reiwa (in the Japanese calendar system), ushering in a new era. Along with this milestone, the environment surrounding us is significantly changing.

With prolonged U.S.-China trade friction, Brexit, and chaos in the European economy, as well as with flagging economies in emerging countries and uncertain prospects for the situation in the Middle East, among other factors, various risks expanded, making last year a year in which negative effects on our business began to materialize. Concerns about a global recession have begun to appear in economic indicators. For example, the forecast for the 2019 economic growth rate issued by the IMF on October 16 was revised downward by 0.2 percent from the previous forecast (in July), resulting in a predicted growth rate of 3.0 percent, which would be the lowest since the 2008 global financial crisis.

Under such social conditions, as for our business-results target for the current fiscal year (ending March 31, 2020), we are aiming for 150 billion yen in profit attributable to owners of the parent, which would mean four consecutive years of record-high net income.

In striving to achieve such, all of you are redoubling your emphasis on our business fundamentals: securing reliable profitability in projects, making the most of our expenditures, and avoiding waste, and for your sincere effort to do so on a daily basis I once again express my deepest appreciation. However, in the midst of changes in the environment surrounding us, the state of our company does not at all lend itself to optimism. As such, as we welcome the new year, let us further strengthen our focus and aim together to achieve our goal.

Requests to You in 2020

Now, changes in even how people work are rapidly taking place in various industries due to advances in IT and digital technologies in the industrial world-not to mention including in the automotive industry, which is a major pillar of our company's business. As such, there is the possibility that, in the near future, our society will take on a new form that is completely different from what we have today.

Furthermore, the momentum for global action concerning societal issues, environmental awareness, and achievement of SDGs is rapidly increasing, making it possible to say that we are on the verge of the start of a paradigm shift aimed at a new civilized society.

To survive and continue sustainable growth in this huge vortex of changes in the environment surrounding us, it is necessary that we continue to "Be the Right ONE" as an irreplaceable, a one-and-only presence for our partners and stakeholders.

The ideal state of "Be the Right ONE" to which we aspire entails "each person engaging in work while being aware of the need to resolve societal issues and providing unique Toyotsu value to achieve the state of "Be the Right ONE" and being an irreplaceable presence for our customers and partners. To obtain that state, it is necessary that each of us become a strong individual and that we maximize team power and concentrate strong individuals to "Be the Right ONE" in each of our businesses.

To become a strong individual, each of us must constantly have a "healthy sense of crisis" even in normal times. It is precisely when we are generating profit in our current businesses and achieving growth that we need to have a healthy sense of crisis and need to heighten our sensibilities both regarding risks that can make our businesses obsolete and regarding our competitors. That is when we must also largely improve our current businesses and even redesign them. At the same time, it is also important that we prepare for the decline of our current businesses by heightening our sensibilities related to new technologies, new services, and new business models.

Also, for becoming a strong individual, in addition to asking that each of you, as a professional, strengthen your expertise so as to be unbeatable in your own work, I ask that you strengthen your engagingness as a person. For example, have interest also in and learn about things that do not appear, at a glance, to be related to your work, such as the liberal arts.

At the same time, the company will conduct various activities and provide support.

For example, to respond to the evolution of digital technologies, this year we will establish an organization dedicated to digital transformation (DX), and, positioning that new organization as the core, we will further accelerate our company-wide digital transformation. That said, this transformation is not something that can be achieved through the actions of a special organization alone. With each person having a sense of ownership in the reality that all of one's daily tasks are now in this huge vortex of transformation, let us, myself and all other executives included, engage in our digital transformation together.

Furthermore, as a mechanism for speedily responding to new technologies and new services, as well as for speedily responding to changes in business models, last year we established a new "NEXT Technology Fund" of 6 billion yen as our second such fund. We also established with a capitalization of 5 billion yen Mobility 54 Investment SAS, an investment company dedicated to investing in and financing mobility-related startup companies in Africa.

Additionally, we marked the start in earnest of our in-house new business creation (entrepreneurship) Toyotsu Inno-Ventures Project, as we accelerate the uncovering within our own company of seeds for new businesses and link them to the creation of new businesses.

I would like all of you, by all means, to make effective use of these kinds of programs and mechanisms, to anticipate and foresee severe environmental changes, and to boldly take up the challenge of business creation.

In closing, please let me say that the greatest asset of a company is the health-of both body and mind-of its employees and their family members. I wish that 2020, also, will be a year of good health full of smiles and happiness for all of you and your families.