Stability within Change; Change within Stability
Change and uncertainty have been for Japan and its people an ever-present and inescapable reality. Due in large part to simple geography—being a resource-poor archipelago situated on the eastern edge of the earth's largest landmass in a seismically hyperactive region—we have always had to confront the vicissitudes wrought by nature, geopolitics and, of course, economics.
Personally, I have only to look back on my experiences soon after entering Toyo Corporation at the beginning of the 1970s to remind myself of just how immediate this truth has been. The country, at the time, was, with almost single-minded zeal and sense of purpose, achieving unprecedented economic and social advances.
The decade which opened on an optimistic note with the Expo in Osaka, would soon be hit by the dual blows of the "Nixon shocks" (the unilateral abrogation in 1971 of the gold standard for the U.S. dollar and imposition of a 10% import surcharge, and the surprise visit by Nixon the next year to China) and the subsequent transition to a free-floating Japanese currency (bringing the yen down from a pegged ¥360 to the dollar, to ¥308, then finally ¥271 by 1973), followed soon thereafter by the then seeming knock-out blow of the "1st Oil Shock," and a quadrupling of crude oil prices. Needless to say, the effect on everyone involved in the Japanese economy was profound—the import/export sector in particular.
The uncertainties, challenges and tasks that faced us then seemed almost insurmountable, as they must have following our country's defeat in World War II, or as they did during the almost decade-long period of deflation that came in the wake of the bursting of the bubble economy in the 1980s, or as they do now in the face of soaring food and energy costs, mounting global environmental issues, accelerating geopolitical and geoeconomic shifts, and a technology landscape that is changing by the nanosecond.
Yet, we were able, somehow, to find a way to deal with these issues in the late-1940s and early-50s, as well as in the 1970s, and subsequently in the 1980s and 90s—and I am certain we will find a way to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.
My confidence, however, is not mere optimism; it is based solidly on experience and heritage. Change is an inherent part of both our corporate and social cultures. We have learned, as much out of necessity as anything else, that change not only brings uncertainty and disruption, but also provides the indispensable seeds for future growth and development.
Stability from Tradition
At the same time, stability is also an important part of our ethos, both for Toyo and Japan as a whole. For, stability must provide the platform on which real growth and development are built, and a sustainable prosperity is achieved.
This stability, I believe, is one that is firmly rooted in our traditions, again both corporate and societal. And it is these traditions, I believe, that enable us to deal so effectively with a milieu of such bewildering change.
Here at Toyo, our traditions derive from founder Hisashi Nomura. It was, in fact, his unwavering adherence to the ideals of hard, honest work and mutual benefit that attracted me to the company in the first place. And his founding principles remain the bedrock on which Toyo continues to stand: 1) to seek quality over quantity and size; 2) to look outward first, and then inward second; 3) to build an enterprise specialized in technology; and 4) to position information as an important element of our product and service offerings.
The confluence of these two cultures, change and stability, continues to define Toyo today. We are highly trained professionals in the area of science and technology, preeminently equipped to deal with the challenges and problems of change—to bring a measure of stability to change and, at the same time, to introduce change into stability.
Herein lies our corporate role and objective: to serve as an interface, both technological and informational, for change.
We now live in a world in which political, socioeconomic, cultural, technological and informational boundaries are all becoming less and less meaningful. And as the traditional walls crumble, the pace and pitch of change continues their inexorable advance.
As such, the role of Toyo as an interface has become all the more important. We are, in a word, interface specialists. Our science-and-technology-centric employee profile, our traditions, our experience and our expertise all combine to position us ideally to serve as the broad-based interface required now and in the future. Our engineers, both in sales and support, are able to communicate directly with their counterparts at the most basic levels, enabling effective and efficient two-way feedback.
And in our particular area of competence, test and measurement, our ability to bring to bear our wealth of experience and know-how in discerning the special needs and requirements of the researchers and organizations with whom we work has enabled us to maintain our position of leadership.
To function as an effective interface, we have evolved over the years away from the narrow, traditional trading company model of merely buying and selling goods and services. We now provide a broad and integrated infrastructure to support our commercial activities. This ranges from our highly capable software development and support units, to our servicing, calibration and training/seminar facilities.
Toyo Corporation, therefore, is able not only to provide our customers with timely, vital, and forward-looking products, but also to back these products up with a level of service and support that is unmatched in the industry.
We are also starkly aware of the limitations of pure science and technology: that they alone are not sufficient for achieving a better life, and that a broader vision incorporating the present and future needs of the world community is required. We are, therefore, constantly working to broaden and deepen our interface capabilities and range. Our employees are urged at all times to look beyond their everyday circle of experience and knowledge, to develop the sensitivity and sensibilities necessary to see the technology that will be important in the future.
It is our constant and continual dedication to both the tasks at hand and the needs of the future, I believe, that makes us so good at what we do, and which, I am confident, will keep us at the forefront of our special area of expertise—technology and information interface.
In closing, I would like on behalf of Toyo Corporation to express our appreciation to all our customers, suppliers and stakeholders, and to ask for your continued support as we strive not only to maximize profit and benefit, but also to provide the tools and know-how that will help build a better society for Japan and the world community.