Nurturing a culture of trust
Interview with an Outside Director

PROFILE

Born in 1949. He has served as Director-General of the National and Regional Planning Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism; Chairman of the Housing Finance Promotion Association; Senior Executive Director of the Japan Housing Finance Agency; and Representative Director and President of West Japan Construction Surety Co., Ltd. He was appointed to Director of Haseko Corporation in June 2017.

Q. What is your impression and evaluation of the Haseko Group?

There have been many changes in the Haseko Group in the four years since I was appointed as an Outside Director. The number of Outside Directors, which was four when I took office, was expanded to five the following year with the addition of the first female Outside Director of Haseko Corporation. Then, based on a report from the Nomination and Remuneration Committee, President Ikegami was appointed, and the new management structure was inaugurated in April 2020. At the same time, the Long-Term Vision planned with an eye on 2030, 10 years into the future, was announced, and the medium-term business plan for five years (the Plan NS) was launched. Thus, we have just taken a step forward to a new stage of growth.

I also feel that the Board of Directors meetings have changed compared to the past. There are now more active discussions. While it is true that the opinions of Outside Directors from external perspectives have always been actively accepted and there was an open atmosphere that made it easy for us to speak freely, recently, the explanations and question-and-answer sessions by the Directors in charge of agenda items have become more enthusiastic, and the exchange of opinions has become more substantial.

The past four years can be said to have been a period of generally strong business performance and no major issues, but the Board of Directors has shared concerns about the future, looking ahead to the long-term decline in housing demand due to the declining population. Such thoughts are reflected in the key strategies of Plan NS, which include expanding the area beyond the three major metropolitan areas, developing non-residential projects, strengthening service-related businesses, and promoting overseas businesses. It will not be easy to achieve Plan NS’s goals of 100.0 billion yen in consolidated ordinary income and 150.0 billion yen in consolidated ordinary income, which has been established in the Long-Term Vision. However, with regard to planning, it is important to make an effort to challenge yourself to achieve high standards.

I believe that our corporate governance is sufficiently effective. What we need to pay attention to in the future is the continuation of risk recognition based on past experience in business deterioration. Of course, we are still managing risks such as setting limits on land ownership, but more and more people working with us now are not familiar with the difficulties we faced about 20 years ago. I believe that it is the management team’s responsibility to control the risk of loss in response to efforts in the field that aim to achieve our goals.

Q. What is your view of CSR activities?

We have been engaged in a variety of CSR activities, but I believe that our environmental conservation initiatives are particularly important because they are tightly related to our business. As natural disasters become more severe due to climate change, the Haseko Group is focusing on building disaster-resistant condominiums while striving to reduce CO2 emissions and decarbonize through CSR activities. As can be seen in the development of environmentally-friendly concrete, there are aspects that bring new added value to the business.

In addition, Satoyama preservation activities, in which employees participate, are effective in conveying our corporate message to society and it is a significant initiative that should be implemented continuously.

I would like Haseko Corporation to continue to promote steady efforts to reduce its environmental impact and steadily build up the effects even little by little, sending out messages and conveying the necessity of environmental conservation.

Q. What are your expectations for the Haseko Group?

As stated in the Haseko Group’s slogan, I expect it to be a “corporate group for housing to create great living” that is always needed by society. Along with “clothing” and “food,” “housing” is an essential element for people, and it will never disappear. I would like the Haseko Group to expand the scope of its business development and continue to provide value that will satisfy customers (people living their lives) as a leader in the field of “housing.”

So, how can we achieve this? The key is to secure technical capabilities and human resources. While developing advanced construction technologies and actively utilizing digital technology, we must respond to the changing times by focusing on the future of housing and living, led by the younger generation of employees. By taking on these challenges, the Haseko Group is sure to achieve further development and sustainable growth. As a member of the Haseko Group, I will use my knowledge and experience to support bold challenges in which everyone participates.