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Interview with the President
Inabata's “Fourth Foundation” is with a Spirit of “Love (ai)” and “Respect (kei)”


Is this why you've revised Inabata’s mission and action guidelines for the 120th anniversary?

That’s right. The Inabata spirit and culture used to be conveyed top down to subordinates, and spread naturally among colleagues as our corporate culture. But rapidly changing work styles and in-company communication have made it difficult to clearly convey the Inabata culture. These days it must be clearly stated and consciously shared.


Management Philosophy and Our Mission
People come first, based on the spirit of “love (ai)” and “respect (kei)”,  
and together we strive towards contributing to the development of society.

Vision
To continually evolve, serving clients and society, 
through global operations and meeting their changing needs.

IK Values
To cherish integrity and respect for people (Ethics)
To continually challenge the limits with high ideals, big dreams, and great passion. (Aspiration)
To prize dialogue and teamwork, and to treasure professional growth of employees. (Organization)
To become the best partner of our clients, providing solutions from the clients’ standpoint. (Role)
To grow with people across borders, sharing and respecting diverse values with the aim of co-prosperity. (Symbiosis)

What were your aims in formulating the company’s Mission and Vision?

The Mission basically expresses why our company exists. It clearly states our aim of serving society based on our core spirit of love and respect, which has been handed down over 120 years. It also conveys that we will continue to pursue this aim in keeping with our values.

Regarding our Vision, we have included two important keywords for a trading firm – “change” and “evolve.” It's a declaration that we will not stay stationary and will continue moving dynamically forward.

The IK Values clearly state Inabata's values. How were they formulated?

Some of the values stated here were first used in our 2020 Project to reorganize our sales divisions. Led by sales division directors, project members — consisting mainly of group managers — met on weekends twice a month for half a year to discuss what kind of company Inabata should be in ten years’ time. Interestingly, the results mirrored our Mission and IK Values, so we examined them again at a management meeting and decided to use them as our IK Values.

How do you hope the company will change now that its Mission, Vision, and IK Values are clearly stated?

Although I don’t expect immediate change, our Mission, Vision, and IK Values should spread naturally to employees as managers steadily implement initiatives based on them. I hope our mission and values will give employees more confidence and a sense of solidarity, so they can act more freely and make judgments more open-mindedly. This will further strengthen the company, motivating every employee and creating a better workplace.

What did you mean when you described the 120th anniversary as a “fourth foundation.”

When Inabata spun off its pharmaceutical division, our then president (now counselor) Katsuo Inabata called for solidarity, announcing that it was the company's “third foundation” following the “second foundation” after World War II. The expression “fourth foundation” may sound a bit exaggerated, but I deliberately used it to sound an alarm about the current situation. The modern world is undergoing dramatic changes, including aspects we ourselves are not fully aware of. We should take the initiative in accelerating change ourselves, in order to respond to our changing society. The expression “Fourth foundation” emphasizes this way of thinking.

What is important to ensure continual evolution?

Since human resources are our greatest asset, we must emphasize their continued development to ensure our future. One IK Value is “To prize dialogue and teamwork, and to treasure the professional growth of employees.” This means establishing a corporate culture where senior employees help younger employees to develop, and systematically providing a workplace where employees can gain wide experience.

It's also important to dedicate ourselves more specifically to being a trading firm. But this does not mean withdrawing in any way from the manufacturing industry. Trading firms have various functions, including finance, distribution, project investment, and market development. A trading firm flexibly combines these functions to meet society's needs. Being constantly exposed to change is not easy, but our work is well worth the challenge. As long as products are manufactured, there will be procurement needs. As long as new technologies and products are created, there will be the need to develop them and open up new markets. To respond to evolving needs, we must further improve our human and information networks. We must also continue refining our specialist's knowledge, which is key to analyzing information, as well as our ability to take action. This is what I mean by greater dedication to being a trading firm. Instead of resting on our past achievements as we celebrate our 120th anniversary, I want the company we inherited from our predecessors to further develop on a global scale.

From Company History: “120th Anniversary—20 Years of New Evolution” (March 2011 edition)

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