This year the Yazaki Group is celebrating the 75th Anniversary of its founding as Yazaki Densen Kogyo K.K. This accomplishment was made possible by the support and patronage of clients and others concerned around the world as well as the hard work of our employees. I would like to take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to all.
At the beginning of Japan’s Showa era (1926-1989), when Japan’s domestic automobile industry was still in its infancy, a young man by the name of Sadami Yazaki encountered a product called the “wire harness.” Although just 21 years old at the time, he saw the potential of this product, and set his sights on becoming a specialist in its manufacture. Over the course of the ensuing years, he received a succession of orders from newly born domestic car manufacturers, which led to his establishment of Yazaki Densen Kogyo in 1941 twelve years later. Ever since then, the company he started has enjoyed continuous growth, despite war and crises of all types, until eventually reaching the 75th Anniversary that we celebrate now.
Today, the Yazaki Group is comprised of 170 corporations that operate in 476 locations in 45 nations around the world, including Japan. In Japan, where we employ 21,500 people, we handle not only automobile components, but also electric wires, instrumentation devices, gas devices, and air-conditioning and solar-assisted cooling devices. Overseas, we mainly develop, manufacture and market wire harnesses for the automotive sector. As of 2015, our total overseas workforce exceeded 280,000 people.
At a time when our world is evolving at a blindingly fast pace, the trend whereby businesses are attempting to create heretofore nonexistent value and innovative models continues to accelerate, a phenomenon symbolized by the advent of the “Industry 4.0” revolution. New technical trends that are built on information will likely change the very foundation of our society. There can be no doubt that we now live in a world in which “change is the norm.”
As we reach this milestone year in such an environment, I am reminded of the fact that we must react with flexibility to this new age, while simultaneously valuing the Yazaki identity that our founding president and our forebears worked so hard to build. Specifically, we must retain what we should retain and change what we should change.
With this in mind, I conclude my message here with a word of gratitude and a pledge to continue pushing forward, together with members of the Yazaki family around the world, to ensure that we live up to those central ideals of our Corporate Policy: To be “A Corporation in Step with the World” and “A Corporation Needed by Society.”