Table Speech


Initiation Speech

September 9, 2009

Mr. Masaru Fukunaga
Mr. Osamu Hirano

“History of Social Trends Seen from the Price of Beer”

Mr. Masaru Fukunaga
President, Sapporo Breweries Ltd.

 Today, beer-drinking is widely enjoyed throughout the year on various occasions, in homes, at restaurants and outdoors. Annul beer consumption per adult reached 170 cans of 350-milliliter, accounting for two-thirds of the total alcoholic consumption. The history of beer in Japan is relatively new, dating back for about 180 years, and evolving around the social development after the Meiji Restoration. In 1876, when our company Sapporo Breweries Limited was founded in Sapporo, one large bottle cost 16 sen (=1/100 yen), equivalent to around 6,000-7,000 yen today. In those days, a ball of soba-noodle cost 0.5 sen, or 10kg of rice cost 50 sen, so it was a very expensive drink.

 Beer was then consumed as a gift to the Meiji Government officials or consulates of foreign countries. Beer gradually came to be drunk at luxurious Japanese restaurants in downtown Tokyo. As early as in 1901, the first beer hall opened in Ginza. One mug of beer then cost around 2,000 yen at current prices, making beer still an expensive drink. But the beer hall was packed with people, selling 2,000 mugs in one day. Beer came to gain popularity.

 Beer halls became major places for drinking during the Taisho and Showa eras. Waitresses in kimonos and white aprons worked busily at some 2,000 beer halls in central Tokyo around 1940. Beer became more affordable costing around 1,000 yen, but people mainly drank at restaurants or beer halls and hardly in homes.

 In 1947 the price of one large bottle was 100 yen. By comparison a ball of soba noodle cost 15 yen, 10kg of rice was 99 yen and the starting salary for university graduates was 3,000 yen. If you drank one beer a day, you could drink away your salary.

 Finally beers began to be drunk in homes around 1962, when a bottle cost 115 yen but the starting salary for university graduates exceeded 20,000 yen. The post-war high economic growth had made Japan more affluent, increasing the demand for electric refrigerators and chilled beer in homes. High-rise buildings were constructed in major cities throughout Japan, and the rooftop beer gardens flourished, one of the seasonal attractions in summer. Canned beer became very popular and “pub” type of businesses emerged and for many people beer became a daily drink, either in their homes, at restaurants or in their workplaces, to relieve the daytime fatigue and / or to replenish their strength for the day ahead.

 Looking back on the beer price after the war, it has only trebled since 1947. This is because beer-drinking has gained wide popularity, in the long-lasting cycle of mass-production and mass-consumption. But the total beer consumption has declined gradually in the past 7-8 years, as the number of alcoholic drinkers has dropped particularly among young people. I would like to enhance new product development to stimulate demand, so that people can further enjoy happy occasions by drinking beer.

“Advanced Medical Technology and Medical Device Lag”

Mr. Osamu Hirano
President, Bracco-Eisai Co., Ltd.

 Advanced medical technology can be classified into 5 fields, which are inseparable from advanced medical devices.

1.Biological image diagnosis: CT / MRI / PET / ultrasound imaging / thermo-graphy / 3D image display / endoscope / Computed Radiography / PACS.

2.Treatment under image monitoring: endoscopic operation / extra-corporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) / intravascular operation / PTCA / micro surgery / laser treatment device / gamma knife / radiation treatment / drug delivery system.

3.Diagnostic technology: flow cyto-meter / self blood-glucose meter / automatic biochemical analyzer / percutaneous blood gas analysis / gene diagnosis / DNA chip.

4.Artificial organ and regenerative medicine: artificial heart / cardiac pacemaker / implantable defibrillator / artificial bone / artificial joint /
artificial internal ear / tissue culture.

5.Others: surgical robot / telemedicine / electronic medical record / nanotechnology.

 There are two crucial aspects of advanced medical technology, one is patients who need treatment and the other is the industry providing it.

 What patients expect from advanced medical technology is two-fold: its outcome and its process. Outcome includes lifesaving, life prolonging, treatment, prevention or early detection. Process includes technologies applied to achieve such outcome, including pain alleviation to improve quality of life. Please refer to the book I handed out today, entitled “Lucky I Met You” compiled by Dr Sakurai, Professor Emeritus of Tokyo Women’s Medical University.

 According to the survey conducted by the “American Medical Devices and Diagnostics Manufacturers’ Association (AMDD)” published in Oct. 2008, only half the number of advanced medical devices of western developed nations are used in Japan As much as 36% of the latest medical devices used in the US have not been filed for application in Japan. High regulation-related costs, time spent getting approval and lack of human resources in the suppliers’ side who can deal with governmental procedures account for half of the reasons behind non-application. The 3-year-delay in the approval process resulted in western countries actually “passing Japan” and generated medical device lag. Only the old medical device models are available, making the Japanese market ridiculed as the “second hand market of the world.”

 There is a serious shortage in medical device inspectors at the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA). Although it is planned to increase the number from the current 26 to 104, there is still a lot to be done.

 When we look at the industrial aspect of the medical technology suppliers, the current market size is 31 trillion yen, and the Ministry of Health made a conservative estimation that it would expand to 65 trillion yen by 2025. I am convinced that Japan will become a medical-industry-oriented nation, if we utilize the basic technical capabilities of advanced electronics or mechanical and material engineering, under the collaboration between the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (the regulatory authority) and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (the industrial promoter).