2023 New Year's Greeting

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Happy New Year, everyone!

At the start of the year, I would like to extend my best wishes for a wonderful new year to all Toyota Tsusho Group employees and their families around the world.

As we welcome this new year of 2023, I would like to reflect on last year and share with you some points for this year.

First, let us look back at last year.

Although the end of COVID-19 is not yet in sight, economic activity is returning to pre-pandemic levels, as life with COVID-19 starts to become more routine, with the lifting of country entry constraints and the easing of various other restrictions around the world.

That said, the conflict in Ukraine, which began last February, has triggered increased geopolitical risks, along with soaring energy prices and supply shortages that have further accelerated inflation worldwide. Even in emerging markets, in which we are engaged in a wide range of businesses, there are signs that the impact of currency depreciation will further accelerate inflation. These factors have increased concerns about slowing global growth, and economic activities are now expected to continue to face an uncertain outlook.

Meanwhile, despite such, at the end of our second quarter, we set a forecast for a full-year profit attributable to owners of the parent of 270 billion yen, exceeding the 222.2 billion yen that we achieved in the previous fiscal year. This is the result of everyone's unceasing efforts, and our company has started to ascend to its next new stage in quantitative terms. At the same time, it is also true that there has been a "tailwind reference value" aspect of this fiscal year's results in the form of rising commodity prices and a weakening yen. So that we can say that the figures that we are achieving stem from our efforts to "Be the Right ONE", we must thoroughly implement basic actions with our feet well-grounded to make the figures represent the true value of our abilities.

Next, I would like to discuss initiatives for this year.

As mentioned earlier, in a rapidly changing environment in which the future is more uncertain than ever, I view it as important that we evolve our strategy in response to environmental changes so that we will be able to charge up one new stage higher and further achieve sustainable growth.

For this, please allow me to mention three points that I would like to share with you for this year.

The first is to continue to create value that will allow us to continue to be chosen by our customers and partners.

Let's drive new value creation, including carbon neutrality and circular economy initiatives, by giving rise to innovations that are unique to Toyota Tsusho and collaborating with our partners. Innovation unique to Toyota Tsusho does not only mean creating new businesses that turn nothing into something in the fashion of startups. Rather, it includes connecting and combining existing businesses, in which we excel, in all directions and, with a focus on creating new value, transforming those businesses into presences with momentum.

Also, I believe that by strengthening relationships with existing partners, identifying new partners to accelerate growth, and promoting collaboration beyond the boundaries of each division and each region, the possibilities for creating unprecedented value are infinite. Let us accelerate the achievement of innovation that is unique to us and become a company that our customers and partners continue to choose.

The second point that I would like to mention is the thorough implementation of lean management.

We are currently in a situation in which we have accumulated more inventory than is necessary to maintain our supply chains amid the turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, semiconductor shortages, and other issues. In the face of global inflation centered on resources and the accompanying rise in interest rates, coupled simultaneously with concerns about an economic slowdown, we must maintain a healthy state at all times by determining appropriate inventory levels. I view that the money you earn should not be put to sleep as inventory, but should be secured as a source of new investment for further growth.

Also, let us continue to be aware of wisely using expenses. To give you an example, domestic and overseas business trips have recently increased. Various insights and discoveries can be gained through casual local and on-site conversations, and I am keenly aware of the importance and joy of going to where the action is taking place and meeting and engaging in dialogue with people in person. At the same time, remote conferencing and telecommuting, which have been popularized by the pandemic, have their merits, and I think that each workplace needs to have a flexible, hybrid approach that takes advantage of the good points of both ways on a case-by-case basis.

My third point is about becoming a truly global company first by each person honing one's expertise.

By "a truly global company", I mean one in which all employees of the Toyota Tsusho Group around the world can maximize and apply their potential on the global stage. Such a company respects individuals' expertise, promotes diversity, and provides an environment in which all employees can play active roles, such as through the office reform that we are going to initiate this year. I would like each of you to acquire "tags" as professionals that make you second to none in a given field--in other words, I would like you to hone your unique expertise and strengths--so that you can become attractive human resources. If we can become a group of professionals by maximizing our organizational strength through organically linking human resources who have multiple "tags", we can become a truly global company that our customers will continue to trust and choose.

Don't fear change but enjoy it and create it. Let us all together make this year, as well, one in which we do exactly that!

In 2023, I wish all of our employees and their families good health, smiles, and happiness.

Thank you very much.

The information in this release is current as of the date of announcement.
Please note that information may change after the date of announcement. Thank you in advance for your understanding.