News Release

2013.1.4 New Year's Thoughts

First, I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

Last year the continuing slump in Europe began to impact the previously strong economies of the newly developing nations, resulting in a general air of economic stagnation worldwide. With new leadership taking the reins in many nations, this year can be expected to bring significant changes both politically and economically. Looking at Japan, the continued strength of the yen and the lingering deflationary trend have made consumers more reluctant than ever to open their wallets, while price wars have reduced profitability and placed considerable pressure on many businesses. Although these harsh conditions show no sign of improving in the short term, it is precisely at times like this that it is so important to formulate strategies to ensure future growth.

With Japan's population decreasing and rapidly aging, there is little hope of growth in Japan's domestic market. But the new businesses developed in Japan in response to these conditions may well become global business models. Creating new businesses and new markets is where Japan excels. Fuji Oil has a long history of offering unique products and discovering new needs. Nevertheless, worldwide competition continues to intensify, and differences in cost and quality are narrowing. More than ever, markets are demanding originality and novelty, and our niche specialty products need to satisfy those demands. To do that, we need to be constantly developing new technologies and new products – in other words, constant innovation is essential.

Last autumn the Soy Protein, Processed Foods Company and the Oils & Fats, Processed Foods Company both held presentations to introduce their products. The Soy Protein, Processed Foods Company developed new ingredients made possible by a novel technology called ultra-soy separation. This year they will begin marketing new products that bring out the great taste and health benefits of soybeans and are produced using an environmentally friendly process. The Oils & Fats, Processed Foods Company has been working to open up new markets by offering new cheese-flavored products, frying oils, and functional oils and fats.

For this year we have included in our basic strategy the creation of new value based on the key words “great taste," "health & nutrition,” “the environment," "safety & reliability,” and “cost." New product development will focus on “great taste" and “health & nutrition.” Our goal is to develop new products that will re-energize the domestic Japanese market and be well received in the global market.

The fast-growing demand for Western-style confections and bakery products in newly developing Asian nations also presents a wonderful opportunity for many Japanese companies. Last year we established Fuji Oil Asia as a regional headquarters for the Southeast Asia region to maximize the synergy among our Group companies in Asia. By networking our Group companies in Southeast Asia we hope to further strengthen our marketing power to better meet the needs of these growing markets.

This year as well, we will continue to use our product development expertise cultivated in Japan to steadily advance our global business strategy.

Yoshitaka Ebihara, President and CEO
January 1, 2013

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