This morning we officially kicked off the Japanese leg of “iglide on tour!” igus Japan hosted a press conference at the luxurious Palace Hotel Tokyo, and 32 journalists came to get an up close look at our car and hear about our plans for the tour.
Kunihiko Kitagawa, or Kenny, which is easier for us non-Japanese speakers, is the Country Manager for igus Japan. Kenny gave the journalists an overview of igus history, our line of iglide materials and products, and the plans for the Japanese leg of the tour.
A highlight of the conference was the speech from a representative of the German Embassy to Japan, Mr. Sickert. He and the embassy helped us with the complicated registration process of the car.
Sickert referred to igus as a highly innovative company that represents the German “Mittlestand” business model. The Mittlestand is comprised of mid-sized companies that are considered to be the economic backbone of the German economy. Mr. Sickert went on, saying that “With its highly specialized products, sales, and production on several continents, and obvious knack for marketing, igus is a prime example of a successful Mittlestand.”
After Mr. Sickert’s speech, the press had their chance to ask questions, as well as walk around and take a look at a wide range of igus products on display with information about their uses and applications.
Following the press conference, we left Tokyo for Iseasaki, where we will begin three weeks of driving and customer visits tomorrow. We are going to explore the entire island, planning on completing a full lap along the coast of the island, about 2,800 miles. For each mile, igus will donate one Euro to a Japanese charity that is helping children affected by the 2011 tsunami.
igus has been coupling with a new charity organization in each country along the tour. While in Taiwan, we partnered with two organizations that help developmentally disabled children and their families, especially regarding education. One of the organizations, Maria Social Welfare Foundation, came to visit at our Taiwanese Press conference.
In Korea and China, we donated aid in the form of rice, giving 1 kg (2.2 lbs) for every kilometer driven. The donations from the Korean leg weighed in at almost 4,500 pounds – almost 4 times as heavy as the iglide car!
Each local igus branch decides how to best give back to their communities. We like to think that igus stands for not only high quality, but social responsibility as well!
I’ll keep you up to date on our Japanese adventures!