ECSSR Organizes Lecture - The Role of the Private Sector in Community Development: A Japanese Model

ECSSR Organizes Lecture – The Role of the Private Sector in Community Development: A Japanese Model

  • 8 April 2015

In the presence of Sheikh Mohammed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) hosted Mr. Toshifumi Suzuki, Founder, Chairman and CEO of 7-Eleven Japan Co. Ltd., who delivered a lecture – The Role of the Private Sector in Community Development: A Japanese Model. The lecture was held in Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Hall at the ECSSR office complex in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday 8 April, 2015.

At the beginning of the lecture, Mr. Toshifumi Suzuki thanked the ECSSR for inviting him and expressed his admiration for the United Arab Emirates’ model of development, describing it a great country with successful people. Mr. Suzuki discussed, in detail, his experience in the retail sector in Japan and narrated the history of 7-Eleven, and how it brought about a transformation in the country’s retail sector and the society. He said that the UAE, which has a rapidly growing strong economy, has great potential for a promising future in the retail sector.

Mr. Suzuki noted that private sector has become a strategic partner with governments in the implementation of many projects related to community development plans. He is regarded as a pioneer and innovator in the Japanese retail industry as someone who realized years ago that the best way to ensure sustained development in countries and communities is to maximize the role of the private sector and make it an essential component of the process of modernization in the society. He said that a successful retail network is always keen to fulfill customer needs and tries to understand their priorities and concerns at all times.

Following his lecture, a discussion session was held in which members of the audience participated. They asked questions related to the experience of 7-Eleven and lessons the group learned from the global financial crisis of 2008. Mr. Suzuki said that his company’s focus at that time was on providing high quality products without reducing prices. When asked about his competitor in Japan, he said: “customer is always the competitor. How to satisfy and meet his needs? That is success.”

Seven-Eleven Japan Co., Ltd. operates more than 17,000 stores in Japan and 55,000 stores globally. Mr. Suzuki is also the Chairman and CEO of Seven & i Holdings Co., Ltd. which is the largest retailing conglomerate in Japan with more than 18,000 stores in its domestic market. Its network also includes convenience stores, general merchandising stores, department stores, supermarkets, restaurants, specialty stores, financial institutes and e-commerce services. The company’s annual sales amount to around 10 trillion yen (approximately US$100 billion). Seven-Eleven Japan is now the largest and most profitable retailer in the country.

Mr. Suzuki was born in Nagano Prefecture Japan in 1932. He graduated from Chuo University’s faculty in Economics with a B.A. in 1956. He joined Ito-Yokado, the general merchandising store and the core company of the group, in 1963. In 1974, he introduced the 7-Eleven franchising system to the Japanese retail industry and helped revolutionize his country’s retail sector.

Mr. Suzuki succeeded in streamlining much of Japan’s multi-layered consumer–product distribution system and helped introduce a more consumer–driven orientation to product development and manufacturing. He also served as Vice Chairman of the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations in 1997 and sat on important commissions on the environment, business ethics, and long-term economic strategy. Mr. Suzuki was awarded the Gran Cordon of the Sacred Treasure from the Emperor of Japan in 2003, in recognition of his contributions.



Wednesday 8 April 2015


Wednesday 8 April 2015