Table Speech

Initiation Speech

October 11, 2006

Mr. Ryuichi Shimamura,
Mr. Takahiko Miyoshi,

“About Tires”

Mr. Ryuichi Shimamura,
Manager in charge of business with Mitsubishi,
Domestic Tire Sales Department No.2,
The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd.

1. Roles of Tires
The four roles of tires are to: 1) suspend the weight of the vehicle, 2) transmit the rotation of the engine to the road surface, 3) turn according to the movement of the steering wheel, and 4) soften the shock from the road.

2. How to Make Tires
Manual labor is required when putting several layers of thick rubber sheets together. Accumulated specialized skills are required to complete this process, so tires cannot be produced by carmakers. Making one tire takes about a few hours to half a day. Especially, creating the tread patterns or grooves of a tire is the centerpiece of tire making, thus, each manufacturer’s engineering staff tries to show their expertise whenever changing models.

3. Volume of Tire Production
About 1.3 billion tires are made worldwide. In Japan, 200 million tires are produced, equivalent to 1.33 million tons of rubber. If translated into yearly sales, Bridgestone sold about 2,700 billion yen, Yokohama Dunlop sold about 500 billion yen, and Toyo Tires sold about 350 billion yen.

4. Composition of Raw Materials
Tires are composed of 30 percent natural rubber, 20 percent synthetic rubber, 25 percent is a strengthening agent such as carbon, and other materials such as steel wire, etc. All are imported.

5. More About Tires
The world’s largest tires were made by Bridgestone; each is four meters in diameter and costs 3.5 million yen per unit. Tires for airplanes are made from 100 percent of heat-resistant natural rubber. A Jumbo Jet has 18 tires.

6. For safe driving and cost savings
Tires need air pressure in the right proportion, and should be changed before the tread wears out.

7. Tires for Global Environment
Tires, once unwanted industrial waste, have now been transformed to a valued industrial heat source. A new, innovative method of creating tires, without using petroleum, is making progress.

“Is Paper A Barometer of Culture?”

Mr. Takahiko Miyoshi,
Representative Director & Chairman, Nippon Paper Group, Inc.

 It is said that, “Paper is an important barometer of cultural aspects.” 1,300 years have passed since paper was invented in China and introduced to Japan, where it was improved on, becoming Washi, unique Japanese paper. Paper took Western routes: it was propagated to the Arab world in the 7th to 8th centuries before going to European countries in 13th to 14th centuries. In 1450, typography was invented by Gutenberg, and it was the beginning of the relationship between paper and human civilization. When Japan first used Western paper, it was only about 130 years ago.

 If we take a look now at the relationship between the cultural standard of a nation and the consumption of paper, Japan used 31.46 million tons of paper last year, according to statistics. The volume can be translated to 246 kg per capita. If this cultural standard is converted to GDP, a strong correlation can be seen for the relation of the GDP and paper used in the past 30 years. Paper consumption in other countries is also well balanced with GDP, so it is most likely that paper is a barometer of culture. But what about the future—will improved income levels and paper consumption continue to move together?

 The rapid advancement of electronic media is causing significant apprehension about the future of paper as an information media. However, the use of paper in newspapers and books in developing countries is increasing. Particularly in China, a sharp increase of paper consumption is expected. A 5.2 percent rise was the result of the world’s paper consumption last year, compared to the previous year. This pattern is expected to continue for the time being.

 Some say a scarcity of raw materials may be the main problem, because it can cause the paper supply to be restricted. There is, however, no problem with this, because the recovery of old or used paper is increasing, and this movement compensates for the lack of materials. In addition, the paper manufacturing companies are putting much effort into the development of tree species with high pulp yield, and into hybrid plantations all over the world.

 In relation to the increasing population and raised income, paper demands may increase significantly, but we will continue to provide good quality and inexpensive paper to the marketplace.