The city-state of Singapore is home to four gazetted nature reserves, which are a stark contrast to its sprawlng urban infrastructure. To Kotaro Tomita of Mitsubishi Corporation (MC), these reserves are priceless sanctuaries, providing him with both picturesque backdrops for his weekend jogs and a chance to clear his head. "Jogging seems to help me think," he says. "I often make a mental breakthrough or come up with new ideas when I go for a run."
Asia's growing markets are driving the world economy, and nowadays a wealth of intelligence and key players in mineral resource trading are concentrated in Singapore, which is close to China, India, and ASEAN. Tomita is General Manager for Strategy & Planning at Singapore-based Mitsubishi Corporation RtM International (RtMI), which functions as the control tower for MC's global mineral resources trade. The subsidiary was established in order to relocate some of the core functions of MC's Metals Group to Singapore, which has fast become the epicenter of the metals trade and other industries in Asia. RtMI's mission is to provide markets with stable supplies, as is evidenced by the "RtM" in its name, which stands for "Resource to Market."
At one time, metal and mineral resource prices were usually set through direct negotiations between buyers and sellers, however, the commoditization of these resources has accelerated in recent years. Markets are in a state of upheaval, triggered not only by supply-demand balances, but also by global political developments, the strategies of institutional investors, and other factors. Tomita, who helps guide mineral resources trading, is constantly being relied on for new perspectives and ideas. He draws inspiration from the following words: "If you can one day make yourself new, make new from day to day, and make new again every day." The passage is from "The Great Learning," one of the Four Books of Confucianism. "Each day is a blessing," explains Tomita. "If we are to truly understand and appreciate that, then we must continue to challenge ourselves and be increasingly inventive one day to the next."
Having grown up in London and NewYork, Tomita has already overcome a lot of challenges in his own life. Here in Singapore, he assembled a truly diverse team, which at one point had members of 12 different nationalities. His experience has made him more flexible and adaptable, traits that he today recognizes as his greatest strengths. "Supplying markets with resources is a vital mission," he says. "So it's vital that we continue to evolve as professionals and as a company."
Tomita started running 13 years ago, and each year he tries to run a little bit further than he did the year before. "I hate losing to myself," he says. Growth at RtMI seems a certainty with people like Tomita leading the charge, pushing for that extra mile each and every day.
This article appeared in Asahi Shimbun's "GLOBE" feature of November 5, 2017.