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国際賞受賞者スピーチ

「The Material Handling Award」受賞 吉田祐起氏

株式会社ロジタント代表取締役の吉田祐起先生が本年度のThe Material Handling Awardを受賞されました。この賞はマテリアルハンドリング(運搬・物流管理)の分野で顕著な貢献をした者に与えられるもので、本賞は日本人としては初めての受賞となりました。受賞式での吉田祐起先生の英語のスピーチは9分間に及び、スタンディング・オーヴェイションという形で会場から大きな賞賛を頂いたそうです。
以下は同氏のスピーチです。


Speech Text by Yuuki Yoshida

At the Award Banquet of The SAM 2005 International Business Conference
Thursday, April 5, 2005, Harrah’s Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada

Dr. and Mrs. Moustafa Abdelsamad, the Board of Directors of the Society for Advancement of Management, fellow SAM members, ladies and gentlemen.

It is my great pleasure and honor to be here tonight, speaking to all the respectable attendants for the SAM 2005 International Business Conference. (Dr. Abdlesamad is kind enough to give me eight minutes to speak instead of ten I asked him for. So if I speak more than eight minutes, please don’t raise up a yellow card!)〔laugh〕

First of all, I would like to express my sincere and hearty thanks for being given the “SAM Physical Distribution Award”. This moment is going to be the most exciting and unforgettable occasion in all my life of “seventy-three years”.〔Partial clapping, to my age?〕

Prof. Kobayashi, the president of SAM Japan is unable to be here this time because of his health. So I was asked by him to convey his best wishes to you all.

SAM Japan was established in 1925, before I was born, and it was the first one ever established outside of the States. It has four divisional Chapters, namely Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Hiroshima. The SAM Japan is comprised of about one hundred members, most of them are bussiness persons on active service, and I myself belong to the Hiroshima chapter.

SAM Japan is going to celebrate its 80th anniversary by holding an exciting event in Nagoya, a central city of mainland Japan. As you probably know, “2005 World Exposition ” is now in open there.

To facilitate the access to the venue of the EXPO for the visitors abroad, a new international airport was constructed in the southern part of Nagoya. The new airport is named “Centrair”, meaning central airport. (Sentorea in Japanese)

Now coming back to the event of the 80th anniversary, the members of SAM Japan Chapter will get together at the site of EXPO in coming July, having a banquet with a lecture by Mr. Shoichiro Toyota, the honorable chairman of Toyota Motor Company. He is now taking his office as the President of this mammoth international event. We are very proud of having such a reputed man like him as one of our SAM members.

We take pride in being SAM members, and wish to continue to be good members hereafter. I sincerely ask your continued help and support as the mother SAM headquarter.

〔the expression “headquarter” seemed to invite smile among some people to my expectation.〕

Now let me have a few words about myself. I was stricken with polio shortly before my first birthday, and I have been crippled ever since. With the help of the supporters on my right leg and left foot which I began to use at the age of sixty, however, I have been able to walk much better ever since.

On August 6th 1945, the Atomic Bomb exploded over the city of Hiroshima where I was born (and raised). I was buried under the debris but I escaped death by a miracle. My youngest brother with not a single physical injury died two weeks later. It was because of radio-activities.

A few years later, I was confronted with my father’s death by accident. As an eldest son of the bereaved family, I was obliged to give up my career going to college. Instead, I entered night school of senior high, working at daytime, as a band-saw filer in a small lumber mill in Hiroshima.

One of the episodes in my high school days is that I got the first prize in the English speech contest in the Hiroshima Prefecture high school tournament. The title of my speech was “How I’ve fought my way out!”

During my first stage of life as a craft man, I succeeded in importing from this country a couple of new saw filing techniques we have never had in Japan. This business success in the first stage of my life owed much to my ability of English language. I studied English by myself and I was able to correspond with American colleagues for information exchanges.

Later years, I developed my own devices that contributed much to the improvement of the quality of works. I began to travel throughout Japan with a view to give a series of lecture and demonstration of practical saw filing works by making use of my devices and the newly imported American techniques.

The second stage of my life continued for 32-year as the president of trucking company, which later years became seven subsidiary group companies.

One of the interesting businesses I experienced during this period was the American born rust-proofing business called “Ziebart”. It was in 1986 that I first came to this beautiful country. The purpose of my visit was to attend the 25th anniversary of “Ziebart International Corporation” in Troy, Michigan.

In 1993, for some reasons and motivation, I retired from the group companies, and established “Logitant Corporation”, a consulting firm dealing with logistics and management. The company’s name “Logitant” is coined from the two words “logistics consultant” and “logics consultant”.(Some nodding)

At the very beginning of my work as consultant, I visited the States to investigate and study the American trucking industry, especially in the field of the so called “Owner-Operator System”, in another word, Independent Contractor. During the stay in this country, which lasted about a month, I made field inspection tour of various parts. In the Japanese trucking industry, there existed a strict regulation with regard to “the minimum number of trucks” to those who wish to enter the trucking industry.

Minimum numbers of trucks required were classified into three, that is, five, seven and ten trucks in accordance with the number of population of the place where one wishes to run business.

Upon returning from the States, I began to write a huge amount of papers and articles in which I advocated the abolishment of this regulation, and I contributed them to the trucking industry journals.

In 2001, as a result of a long series of my campaign, the regulation was eased, and the minimum number of trucks decreased to “five throughout Japan”.

The Deregulation Working Group headed by the civil businesspersons and scholars has recently submitted the recommendation of the abolishment of this regulation to the authority concerned.

But the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport which is equivalent to the Department of Transportation of this country refused to accept it. Consequently, this deregulation has been postponed at least to some two or three more years from now. Japan is and will be for some time the only country in the world that does not accept Owner-Operator System. (which I regret.)

With a view to enhancing the motivation of truck drivers, I recently published a 364-page book, the first one ever published of this kind. I predicted that the enforcement of the deregulation would be materialized in the foreseeable future and that the Japanese trucking industry would be entering new era of prosperity.

I am now busy traveling throughout Japan making lectures to the industry businesspersons and truck drivers as well. As soon as I am back to Japan after this International Business Conference, I will have lecture schedules in Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo within this month.

What I always try to remember and will continue to is, (be sure to remember) “Try to study as if you were to live forever, and live as if you were to die tomorrow”. This sentence I found in the book “The Ethics for Youth”, by an English writer.

(Well,) Thank you again for the Award, and your (very) kind attention (for more than eight minutes). 〔laugh〕

My best wishes and fondest friendship to all, thank you indeed. (arigatou!)

Note:

As soon as I finished the speech with the final word of “Arigatou!”,

standing ovations with whistling happened to my surprise, and continued for some time even after I returned to my table. The videotape ended, to my regret though, with the moment of that final word. But the video did caught the scene for a moment some people standing up.

( ) are ad-libs. 〔 〕are the audience mood and reaction the speaker acknowledged .

(Yuuki Yoshida, President of Hiroshima chapter, SAM Japan & Logitant Inc.)

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