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Michitaka Tanoue
June 13, 2012

Tokyo Head Office, Sumitomo Corporation
Metal Products Business Unit

Michitaka Tanoue

+ Office :
* Job :
Overseas trade, management of affiliated firms, and development of new projects in aluminum flat rolled products industry
* Hobby :
Playing rugby, going to musicals
What brings you to your current job?
The aluminum industry is undergoing a significant wave of globalization. In order for business growth to adequately respond to this ongoing, monumental change, close cooperation with domestic and overseas partners is vital. Furthermore, to successfully expand business globally in association with these partners, quality resources for trading functions, distribution networks and coordination capability are essential. Sumitomo Corporation is rich in these business resources, and I am eager to contribute to the development of the aluminum sector by utilizing the assets of the general trading company.

Members of the Blue Lions, a rugby team organized by Tanoue

What is the most impressive experience you ever had?
One of the most rigorous challenges I ever faced was an agreement for a joint acquisition of a US company. Having forged a consensus among the Japanese companies involved, our team was about to complete the contract, when on a Thursday morning we received a call from the US company notifying us of their intended change of mind. We took swift action against the unexpected about-face. First, we promptly contacted the individual Japanese firms to seek approval on terms and conditions modifications that reflected the desires of the withdrawing party, and then we presented the party with the revised proposal before the day's end. To persuade the negotiating counterparty to come back to the bargaining table, we flew to the United States that weekend to hold final negotiations face to face. Those intensive efforts resulted in a signed agreement the following Monday by the American representative and the Japanese counterparts who arrived only a day before the signing. To this day, I cannot tell you how I was able to survive the tumultuous 96 hours spent in two countries across 10 time zones.

Tanoue and his daughter on their way to a see a musical

You are a longtime rugby player. You took up the sport during your days in high school.
Right. Rugby provides me with a kind of food for the soul. I have never spent time away from the rugby field since starting the sport in high school. In 2005, I organized the Blue Lions with the intension of providing alumni from my alma mater with the opportunity of participating in rugby practice matches, while simultaneously maintaining my physical fitness. In the spring of 2006, the Blue Lions joined the Tokyo rugby club team league; and since then we have played against dozens of teams, including some very strong ones. I hope to continue pursuing this activity as long as possible.
You are also an ardent musical theatergoer. With whom do you go?
I most frequently attend shows with my co-workers. Recently, my family has also begun showing an increasing interest, especially my daughter. She has shown a strong interest in musicals since she was two years old, even with three- to four-hour long musical films. Now that she is able to pick out some parts of the tunes and sing them to herself, I don't mind if she takes an interest in musical lessons. My wish is to continue developing my family's interest in theater and hopefully watch my daughter perform musicals on stage.

(January, 2012)