An Interview with the President
Could you please outline initiatives for raising corporate value over the medium-to-long term?
- Under the “TICKET TO TOMORROW” slogan, we will provide high-quality services in all business fields and create the JR East Group of the next generation by “Pursuing Unlimited Potential.” The Group will focus on the advancement of technological innovation, globalization, and the creation of opportunities for employees to play satisfying roles.
The JR East Group has set out promoting initiatives for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games under the “TICKET TO TOMORROW” slogan as a priority Groupwide task. Accordingly, we will provide high-quality services in all business fields with a view to meeting customer expectations and to creating a legacy for society and the JR East Group beyond 2020. As well as a declaration to customers, the “TICKET TO TOMORROW” slogan is a message designed to motivate employees to elevate the level of operations in all areas. To create the JR East Group of the next generation, we will take measures aimed at “Pursuing Unlimited Potential.” Specifically, the Group will focus on the advancement of technological innovation, globalization, and the creation of opportunities for employees to play satisfying roles.
Railway operations are still dependent on manpower in many areas. However, if technological innovation progresses, I think we will be able to offer services that are truly ground breaking. For example, automated driving technology for cars has been attracting publicity recently. In fact, railway operations are better suited to automated driving technology because they use dedicated lines. Further, until now we have conducted maintenance by replacing components periodically. However, we plan to introduce technology for condition-based maintenance, which involves checking the condition of components and systems and making replacements as needed. We want to proactively incorporate the benefits of technological innovation, including the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and big data.
Another aspect of the JR East Group’s progressiveness is stepped-up globalization. There is a growing number of countries where JR East Group personnel can contribute, such as India, Thailand, and Indonesia. Actually going overseas often brings us face to face with our weaknesses. While Japan is renowned for railway technology, its related products and services can have excessive quality and high costs. As a result, we sometimes have to customize railway technology. Also, railway companies have a tendency to become inward looking. However, I believe the time has come for Group employees to look outward.
Lastly, the JR East Group’s greatest asset is its employees. Female employees represent a growing percentage of our workforce, and women account for roughly 30% of new hires. As a result, the atmosphere of workplaces has changed greatly, and we have become more attentive to detail in our provision of railway services. In the life-style service business, female viewpoints determine the Group’s choice of stores and product lineups for station concourses and station buildings, which makes them highly appealing, particularly for young customers. I am certain that incorporating this type of sensitivity into town development centered on railway stations can open up an array of new possibilities for the JR East Group. From the perspective of increasing diversity, we need to hire more women and welcome talented non-Japanese personnel into our ranks. I expect to see a big increase in mutual exchanges where non-Japanese people come to Japan to work with us or, conversely, where we venture overseas to introduce Japan’s railway technology and pass on experience. With this in mind, throughout the JR East Group, I want to create an environment in which Japanese and non-Japanese personnel can easily work together.