The following is a summary of the Keynote Speech by Mr. Masami Iijima, President and CEO, Mitsui & Co., Ltd., at the 2014 U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference on October 10, 2014.
Mr. Iijima explained the diversity of Mitsui & Co.’s activities in the business world, including the energy business and the implication of the Shale Revolution. He also mentioned Mitsui’s contribution to establishing the partnership between the United States and Japan through the TOMODACHI Initiative.
Mitsui & Co.’s business is delivering products or services the world needs, through trading, exports and imports, financing, marketing and logistics, as well as by making investments and establishing and developing new businesses.
Energy is a good example in understanding Mitsui’s business. At one time, Japan produced its own energy using coal, and even exported coal to its neighbors in Asia. After the Meiji Revolution, the previous Mitsui & Co. was established in 1876, and sold coal both domestically and internationally. Later, increased energy consumption led to Japan becoming an energy-importing country. From the 1950sto the 1960s, U.S. coal comprised over half of Japan’s imports, and Mitsui & Co. was the largest importer of this resource.
Only a short while ago, there were plans to import large quantities of LNG to the U.S. from Qatar or elsewhere, building new import terminals to handle the trade. Now, the situation has reversed and the United States is in a position to export gas from the Shale Revolution.
The surplus LNG from Qatar goes to Japan. Due to the Fukushima nuclear power accident in 2011, over 50 nuclear reactors were shut down. As a result, Japan has increased annual LNG imports by nearly 20% to cover the power shortfall. Thanks to the Shale Revolution, Japan has secured vital gas resources at a critical time for the nation. For Japan, diversity is key to energy security, so adding a large new source of shale gas from the U.S. is significant for both nations.
Mitsui & Co. is supporting the TOMODACHI Initiative to strengthen the important friendship between the U.S. and Japan. The TOMODACHI-Mitsui & Co Leadership Program enables twenty outstanding young American and Japanese professionals from the business and government sectors to participate in a one-week training exchange program. Mitsui & Co. will continue to support the development of the next generation of Japanese and U.S. citizens who will contribute to stronger U.S.-Japan ties.
Click here to read the full text of Mr. Iijima's speech.
Click here to see photos from Mr. Iijima's speech and the Opening Plenary session of the 2014 Annual Conference.
Click here to learn more about the 2014 Annual Conference.