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    Home >> Shanghai >> Article
    Yukitaka Ito: China and Japan have been friends for 2,000 years
    By:Wang Xiaoyang, Wu Qiong  |  From:www.atbmusic.com  |  2019-09-29 17:29

    “I’ve lived in Shanghai for nearly 16 years and got a permanent residence ID last year. Shanghai is my second home. I have a deep love for this city,” said Yukitaka Ito, Chairman and President of Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance (China).

    (Yukitaka Ito, Chairman and President of MSI China)

    This September, Yukitaka was honored with the Shanghai Magnolia Gold Award. Prior to that, he received the Magnolia Silver Award in 2017. The awards are a recognition of foreigners’ outstanding contributions to Shanghai’s development.

    Yukitaka’s Shanghai story began in 1998, when he was working as chief representative of the Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Shanghai Office. Back in 1998, as he recalled, there were only five people in the office: two Japanese and three Chinese. Over the past decades, MSI China has achieved much progress. Having been A-rated at S&P for 11 consecutive years, the company has seen a steady increase in profits since 2013.

    The development of MSI in China is closely related to China’s insurance industry. In Yukitaka’s eyes, that is largely due to the cooperation between Chinese and Japanese companies and institutions.

    In 2004, MSI China inked a strategic partnership with China Pacific Insurance. Facing a surge in Chinese private car ownership, the two companies rolled out accidental insurance cover for motor vehicle drivers and riders.

    In 2010, the World Expo was held in Shanghai. Drawing on Japanese experience of insuring the Expo, Yukitaka and his team at MSI China provided strong support for the Shanghai World Expo Coordination Bureau.

    In 2011, after a rear-end collision accident on the Shanghai metro which resulted in 271 passenger injuries, MSI China, under Yukitaka’s leadership, conducted a 3rd-party safety assessment for the Shanghai Rail Transit Network, pioneering independent assessment by an insurance company in the operation and disaster and loss prevention of public infrastructure.

    In 2018, through re-insurance, MSI China assisted China Pacific Insurance in covering the risks for exhibitors and buyers during the first CIIE (China International Import Expo). This November, it will continue its support for the import expo.

    According to Yukitaka, China’s insurance industry has reached a mature level, and the next step is overseas expansion for further internationalization.

    To this end, Yukitaka is working with the Shanghai Insurance Exchange on an international freight platform. He was very excited to introduce the platform: “If put at an international level, this is an innovation. This platform is innovative in the world. Through the blockchain technology, it enables information sharing between different trade parties, simplifies procedures and improves convenience, thereby improving the business environment of cross-border trade, the service quality and efficiency of cross-border trade insurance, and promoting the development of cross-border trade insurance like cargo transportation insurance.”

    While facilitating Sino-Japanese cooperation, Yukitaka tries his best to promote people-to-people exchanges between the two countries, in particular, the Sino-Japanese youth friendship.

    Having lived in China for 16 years, Yukitaka said, “It is difficult to really understand each other only through media reports.” Therefore, he encourages Chinese and Japanese teenagers to go to each other’s country and experience each other’s culture.

    In 2012, as a corporate sponsor, MSI China supported a group of Chinese university students in visiting Japanese enterprises and living in Japanese families to experience Japanese culture.

    (Yukitaka at the 2018 World Renowned Enterprises Youth Talent Development Forum)

    Invited by MSI China, a group of students from Shanghai’s Shibei Senior High School visited Japan this July. The Chinese students had a wonderful time with their Japanese counterparts at the First Higher School of the Tokyo University of Agriculture.

    As more Chinese teenagers go to Japan, Yukitaka hopes to see more Japanese students coming to China and understanding it better.

    (Shanghai students visit the MSI headquarters in Japan)

    “The Chinese and the Japanese people are similar in appearance, but it is always said that there are various differences in culture and ways of thinking between them. But in my opinion, many differences are caused by the external environment, as they are not internal and fundamental differences. What impresses me is that when China grows, people are enterprising and brave enough to take on various challenges. This is different from Japan which has developed to a certain extent and is no longer growing rapidly. The disparity lies in the difference in the social environment in China and Japan. However, recently I feel that the Chinese and Japanese people still share the same values, because the two countries are neighbors separated only by a strip of water, with more than 2,000 years of relationship." It is Yukitaka’s hope that the cooperation and friendship between the two countries can lead to the steady development of all Asian countries and contribute to world peace and stability.

    (Yukitaka’s wish for Sino-Japanese friendship)

    Story by Wang Xiaoyang

    Translated by Wu Qiong