SMBC Americas CEO and Japanese Business Scholar Discuss Transpacific Economy

PLANO, March 16, 2022 – Finance and business experts spoke about the Japanese economy at a program entitled “Investing in North Texas and the United States: Japan’s Dynamic Financial Sector” on Friday, February 25 at the Westin Galleria in Dallas. The event was the Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth’s first in-person business luncheon in approximately two years. This program was also part of the NAJAS/KKC Business Speaker Series, made possible by generous contributions from the National Association of Japan-America Societies and the Keizai Koho Center. The World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth served as a partner for the program in North Texas.

The two speakers were Hiro Hyakutome, CEO of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) Americas Division and Dr. Ulrike Schaede, Professor of Japanese Business and Director, Japan Forum for Innovation and Technology, UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy. Each speaker gave a presentation, followed by audience Q&A.

Hyakutome began with an overview of SMBC’s presence in nine key U.S. markets from coast-to-coast, including the Dallas area. He shared that U.S. business is a priority for SMBC with about 4,000 employees in the country, offering services in corporate banking, leasing, securities, and derivatives. Texas is a focus for growth, given that it is home to 49 Fortune 500 corporate headquarters and hosts over 330 Japanese companies’ operations. Hyakutome added that firms like SMBC have to look outside Japan for new opportunities because Japanese GDP per capita only grew from about 40% since 1989, whereas in the U.S., it increased almost 150% in the same time span.

Schaede centered her presentation around three key points – the business reinvention of Japan, the Japanese global production network, and the current state of its banking industry. She noted that only about 20% of Japanese companies account for 80% of the country’s economic output. Japanese firms have continuously reimagined themselves to deal with economic realities and today, Japan’s subsidiaries sell $3 trillion in goods and services outside of their home market. Moreover, Japan is still repositioning itself “from large, diversified conglomerates to focused, nimble deep-tech leaders.”

Special guests included Peter Kelley, President of the National Association of Japan-America Societies, Yasuhiro Uozumi, Executive Director of Keidanren USA (Japanese Business Federation), Liz Brailsford, President and CEO of the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth, The Honorable Sam Shichijo, Honorary Consul of Japan in Dallas, Masahiro “Mark” Ikeno, President and CEO of NEC Corporation of America, Harry Whalen, JASDFW American First Vice President and Director of Business Attraction – International at the Frisco Economic Development Corporation, and Yohei Kanamura, Executive Director of Japanese and Asian Corporate Banking Department, Dallas Representative Office, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.

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