Nikkol group NEWS LETTER


On the 70th anniversary of Nikko Chemicals,
interviewing Chairman Shigeru Sekine

     On June 7, 2016, Nikko Chemicals Co., Ltd., celebrated the 70th anniversary of its founding.
     During the period of turmoil immediately after the end of World War Two, Masami Sekine and Kan Shigihara established Asahi Trading Co., Ltd. out of a desire to assist Japan’s recovery. Thereafter, the two obtained a PB report on manufacture of non-ionic surface active agents (SAA) at Hibiya Library, joined hands with a company versed in chemicals and their manufacture, and launched and built business in the development, manufacture, and sale of non-ionic SAA. The enterprise was reorganized into Nikko Trading Co., Ltd. in 1949, and took its current name, Nikko Chemicals Co., Ltd. in 1964.

    Mr. Sekine adopted a corporate philosophy encapsulated in the words “Total Value Creation ” and laid the foundation for the business of Nikko Chemicals. Today, 70 years later, we interviewed Shigeru Sekine, the Chairman of Nikko Chemicals who is carrying on this spirit of “Total Value Creation,” about the shape of the company on its 70th anniversary.

Please give us your frank thoughts on this occasion, when Nikko Chemicals is celebrating its 70th anniversary.

Sekine:    At the time of our founding, all of Japan was furiously working for recovery, and our business grew as the economy recovered. This phase continued until the mid 1990s. I was engaged in the management of Nikko Chemicals beginning in the 1970s, and had various experiences in the business environment, which changed with the times. The phase of steep economic growth continuing from shortly after the war was followed in turn by the buildup and bursting of the economic bubble factor in the 1990s, and the “lost” ten or 20 years after the bubble burst.
    My honest feeling is that Nikko Chemicals has been extremely blessed throughout these years. I would say that this derives from two factors: the economic environment and the technical environment.
    In the constantly changing economic environment, the products we handled in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical fields were positioned as luxury items that enriched life right after the war. In addition, these fields were not the subjects of speculative investment during the bubble days. This enabled us to grow both soundly and steadily. After the collapse of the bubble, cosmetics grew as a solidly based market because they had taken root as life necessities. Our company managed to take up various challenges in this industry.
    As for the second factor, around the time of our founding, the market and business environment were not conducive to major technical innovation. As I recall, there were not many entrants coming from other industries. We were consequently able to grow without falling into a situation of upheaval in the industry. I think this was a very big factor, too.

    I must add that, above all, we managed to see this day marking our 70th anniversary because of our customers, who have continued to support us down the years. I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to them for this support.

The Nikko Chemicals philosophy is summed up in the words “Total Value Creation.” What approaches has the company taken to “Total Value Creation” so far?
Sekine:    The meaning of “Total Value Creation” is, in short, “innovation.” We emphasize the importance of differentiation from others.
    As a member of the management team, I have always thought that we must make and find something new, and have acted accordingly. For example, I drew on my experiences during study in the United States to lead the introduction of things that did not yet exist in Japan. In addition, I participated in the International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists (IFSCC) to collect information on the industry and technical trends in other countries, and to form human networks. This assisted the globalization of our business and development of markets. These were innovative steps in those days, and injected new currents into the company in my opinion.
     I feel that the seeds sown back in those times are now beginning to bear fruit and to flower. This is what “Total Value Creation” means to me. From now on, globalization and the Internet of Things (IoT) are going to be a requisite element for “Total Value Creation” and assume even more importance, also because of the trends of the times.
     For the future, I would like to see each and every one of our employees to exhibit a keen awareness of this philosophy of “Total Value Creation” and join in a concerted effort so we will be able to provide our customers with optimal solutions in any age.

What is your perspective on the role of Nikko Chemicals in the continually changing environment?
Sekine:    After the bubble burst, we had to ask ourselves what worth our existence had to our customers. Today, too, our worth is being seriously called into question in the same way, in the current situation of shrinking population and phased decline in economic growth rates in Japan.

    We have posted the Vision “to be a top innovative company in the world by colloid chemical and skin science.” We likewise have a deep store of experience and information accumulated over our 70 years of activity. I believe our role lies in extending, utilizing, and furthering these strengths for prompt provision of information to ever more clients in the cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and other industries, while applying the global and IoT perspectives I mentioned just before.
     Serious environmental problems and economic disparities have become issues of worldwide concern.
     Against this background, we fully incorporated the “green, clean & sustainable + economy” (GCS+E) concept into our product strategy beginning in 2010. In keeping with this strategy, we offer products that reflect concern for the environment, and are both sustainable and economical. Furthermore, we are playing a positive role in society by vigorously introducing raw materials from developing countries and continuing to address the problems posed by economic disparities.

What are your thoughts on the future outlook for Nikko Chemicals as a firm on the way to its future anniversaries?
Sekine:    Changes in the economic environment and technical environment may be expected to exert an influence on, and induce great change in, the cosmetic, pharmaceutical, food product, and manufacturing industries inside and outside Japan in ways that differ from the past. In light of this prospect, as one approach leading to the future, we are going to make effective use of our colloid chemistry and skin science technology to take up the challenge of markets such as food products, manufacturing as a whole, and even halal foods.

    And with our eyes on our future anniversaries, we will continue to strive for innovations that help us to make people’s lives better, based on colloid chemistry and skin science. We ask all concerned to expect much from the future activities of Nikko Chemicals.

     From now on as well, we are counting on the unswerving support of all stakeholders in our endeavors.