Kuraray Co., Ltd.

What a pleasure to see such a talented and ambitious group of new recruits. I would like to say a few words on behalf of Kuraray to commemorate this special day.

Today, most restrictions on our daily lives and the economic measures that were in place in response to COVID-19 have been eliminated. Yet, we still live in uncertain times with the conflicts in Ukraine and Palestine continuing, worldwide inflation and serious natural disasters in Japan. All of you sitting here today experienced dramatic lifestyle changes while at school. You overcame considerable difficulties as you applied yourself to your studies and activities outside of school life. We are honored and encouraged to have such an energetic freshman class join us as new members of the Kuraray Group.

Now that you are an employee of a corporation, keep in mind that the key to continue working for years to come is to stay fit and healthy. This is fundamental for you to be happy, successful and enjoy job satisfaction. If you don’t feel well, it will be difficult to concentrate on your job or work effectively and you may be prone to causing accidents. I encourage you to think about and take care of your health on a daily basis. For the company’s part, we will continue to improve the work environment and systems that will enable you to work in a safe and healthy manner.

As you take your first steps out in the world, I would like to remind you to always be conscious of being “a member of the Kuraray Group.” In addition to having the ethics, morality and independence of a responsible member of society, you must remember to act as a representative of the Kuraray Group. By so doing, you will become “a person who is cheered and supported” and those around you will happily help you in many ways. I truly hope that each and every one of you will be “a person who is cheered and supported.”

Kuraray will support you so that you can perform to your potential and grow, but don’t take that for granted. Draw on the support to create your unique value and achieve what only you can achieve.

As you embark on your life as a professional businessperson, I would like to offer three points of advice based on my personal experience.

“if there is anything you don’t understand, don’t be shy and ask your colleagues, seniors or superiors.”

The first is “if there is anything you don’t understand, don’t be shy and ask your colleagues, seniors or superiors.”

This is your first job, so you cannot know much about it, and those around you do not expect you to. It is important not to pretend to know all about a job you are taking on for the first time and to humbly seek guidance without being shy. I know from my experience that when I first started at Kuraray, “I didn’t even know what I didn’t know.” There is bound to be a great deal of “things that you don’t know” beyond what you can see, so be sure to ask until you understand. And of course, make sure you remember what you have learned from asking. It is okay to concentrate on asking and taking notes for a while.

If you hesitate to ask and pretend to know, it could lead to major mistakes or issues in the future. Once you are assigned into a department, you may feel like you shouldn’t keep asking questions because your seniors and superiors seem busy, but I assure you that is not the case. They will be helpful because they know that they were just like you at first and that you will learn more quickly if they teach you and that will ultimately help the company.

“Do your best in the job or role that you have been given”

The second point is to “do your best in the job or role that you have been given”.

   When you are actually assigned to a department, it is common to find that the job is quite different from what you had imagined. However, I ask you to keep in mind that your superior has taken great care to choose a job that suits your level of experience and with consideration to your future career.

   All jobs will have significance. If you are given a job or role, it is important that you apply yourself to it wholeheartedly at least for several years. The accumulation of your daily efforts will likely become your future strength. You will win the trust of those around you by earnestly engaging in any job that you are tasked with and achieving results.

   And by so doing, you will be given larger, more important responsibilities the next time.

“To continue to improve yourself” ”

The third point is to “continue to improve yourself.”

   This means not to think of graduating from school as the end of your studies, but instead, to think of joining the company as the beginning of your studies. I encourage you to expand your knowledge and experiences by reading a wide range of books, carefully listening to people and proactively participating in external seminars and training sessions so that you can acquire the refinement and knowledge befitting a responsible member of society.

In particular, I recommend that you read as many books as you can. It is a habit that is relatively easy to maintain. Information you get real-time on the internet or through social media may be up-to-date but lack the analysis, inspection and deep insight that is based on thorough research and facts. Books are truly a wonderful tool packed with an abundance of rich information and teachings. They are an affordable means of exposing yourself to events and the thinking of people from all ages and places.

   Investing in self-improvement is the surest way to generate a return. I urge you to consciously make the effort to keep improving yourself. It will never be in vain.

To sum up, my three points of advice based on my experiences in the working world are: “If there is anything you don’t understand, don’t be shy and ask your colleagues, seniors or superiors”; “do your best in the job or role that you have been given”; and “continue to improve yourself”.

I advise you to keep these in mind and to remind yourself of them in a year, two years and several years from now.

Before closing, I would like to talk about my expectations of you.

While corporate social responsibility and contribution to society have recently become worldwide trends, Kuraray has a long history of embodying these principles since our founding.

Our founder, Magosaburo Ohara, established a solid foundation for the company’s operations and engaged in a variety of social welfare activities and public enterprises based on the firm belief that “profits made from society should be returned to society.” He was succeeded by his firstborn son,
Soichiro Ohara, who promoted the principle, “for people and the planet—to achieve what no one else can” and argued that to uphold this principle, we must contribute to society using pioneering technology. He was true to his words as he lead the company’s growth through numerous challenges.

Since then, we have followed in his footsteps by formalizing and upholding the mission statement, “For people and the planet—to achieve what no one else can”. We have drawn on our innovative technologies to launch numerous unique and leading products and businesses to help improve the environment and enhance the quality of life throughout the world.

Kuraray’s true strength is in our solid track record that goes well beyond lip service.

My expectation of you is to “continue to challenge yourself”. To “achieve what no one else can for people and the planet”, you must proactively undertake all challenges in your daily work, regardless of how big or small. You cannot give up because it is “too difficult” or “too much work”.

It’s okay to fail. The important thing is to “try”. The accumulation of small challenges will lead to greater challenges and ultimately to achieving something that “no one else can”.

Today, you are joining a company with this history and corporate culture, and one that continues to evolve and grow. Now that you are a member of the Kuraray Group, I hope you will think, discuss and work together with us to maintain this wonderful corporate asset and grow it further.

I would like to once again welcome you to Kuraray and hope these words of encouragement will guide you in your new career.

President and Representative Director Hitoshi Kawahara