The first page article of the Nikkei Newspaper on November 29th posed the question 

“What is the significance of your company?”

It was an article that mentioned how Purpose was needed.

In this blog, we will introduce the english translations of the contents. 


“Purpose” means  “significance of existence in society”. What is our company for? Many companies around the world are facing this question right now.


“Today’s Word” on page 3 also describes “Purpose,” and the electronic version also has a special feature that follows companies that have actually re-formulated Purpose.


It has been about 4000 years since the establishment of corporations. Companies that have enriched society are right now at a crossroad. Young people have begun to say no to the management stance of pursuing profits excessively and rewarding shareholders, and demanding that they clearly show their contribution to society and the significance of their existence. Company and society. Two words that are said to have the same etymology are now beginning to overlap again.


“Today, as I repeat how to survive tomorrow, I will stand up for years. Interviews with employees do not tell us about the future” Tatsuya Ueda, president of Sembokuya (situated in Yokohama City), a cutting industry that is celebrating its 80th anniversary, was worried. In 2019, he took over the company that had twenty six employees due to the sudden death of the former employee. However, it was the new coronavirus disease that did the most direct damage. 


Sales in 2008 will decrease by half, and the 6-year production, which is good at testing parts, will taper off due to the shift of the production industry to electric vehicles (EVs), which have a small number of parts. It seems that he set “thank you, sincerity, and a smile” as a company motto when he was appointed president, but something is missing. “It is meaningful but necessary to work so that company employees can have dreams and talk about 10 years from now.” Won’t you create purpose together? 


The interview team asked President Ueda. Purpose, which is becoming a management keyword, means “meaning of existence in society.” One company wants to share the determining process of it.


Redefining “Purpose”


What is the point of our company in the world? Many companies across the world are now facing this question head-on. Collect funds from shareholders, to create employment and sustain the business for generations. ​​The “company”, which continues to be a great invention in itself, became the driving force of economic growth. The world’s gross domestic product (GDP) has increased to 85.9 trillion dollars a year, about 60 times in half a century. However, this huge gear also causes distortion.


After an era of emphasizing how “shareholder returns centered on return on equity”, now approximately 2,100 wealthy people own more assets than the bottom 4.6 billion. According to a survey conducted by the Detroit Tohmatsu Group on young people in 45 countries from January to February, less than 70% of the respondents recognized that “wealth and income are not evenly distributed.” The most common factor was “greed of companies and wealthy people and retention of vested interests”. Dissatisfaction oozes with the lack of equal opportunity to be evaluated.


According to the World Bank, by 1950, the amount of waste vehicles generated in the world will reach 39 tons per year, an increase of 70% compared to 20 years. Huge energy consumption threatens the survival of society in the form of global warming.


The Business Round Table of the U.S. Business Group, which raised a sense of crisis about its division from society, called for a “redefinition of Purpose” in 2019.  This year, the Boston Consulting Group has doubled the number of inquiries regarding Purpose formulation, and five times as many in Japan.


Choosing a workplace with empathy


Are each of us aware of what we are working for?  “Can you tell us the significance of your company?”  Interviewer Itaru-O surveyed 100 employees walking in Yurakucho, Tokyo.  The majority of the respondents answered, “I can say the purpose and vision that my employer had clearly stated.” 


“I decided to stop writing because I sympathized with the philosophy. A man in his 50s who works for environmental services looks back on his career change a few years ago. However, he decided to retire, saying, “I don’t know what I’m aiming for and I don’t sympathize with it at all.”  Takashi Nawa, a visiting professor at Hitotsubashi University Graduate School, translates Purpose as “will.”  “It will be a guidepost like the North Star, and employees will be inspired.”  When combined with the work of each person, “it leads to excellent human resources and high praise in the market supported by customers.”


I asked for the help of Mr. Nawa, who is making the purpose of Sembokuya at the beginning.  Should the company be the best for “customers,” “employees,” and “society”?  After repeated discussions with craftsman-quality employees, we narrowed down more than 30 keywords.  


This is the word “space technology” and “space quality” that emerges.  Employees were proud and aware of the future in manufacturing parts for artificial satellites, which have been gradually accumulating since the 2000s.  President Kiueda also announced his plans to expand the space business, which he had been warming up.