2004 U.S.-Japan Food Distribution Symposium Held

On June 10, the sixth U.S.-Japan Food Distribution Symposium was held at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The theme of the symposium was “Competition Evolutions, Consumer Responses Shift.”

In the morning, there were keynote speeches from experts on global marketing, Yoshihiro Tajima, chancellor of the Gakushuin School Corporation and Dr. Philip Kotler from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Mr. Tajima gave suggestions from his incisive observations on distribution systems in his presentation, “Paradigm Shift to Information Society and Consumer Relations.”

In the afternoon, a panel discussion was held by top leaders of the U.S. and Japanese distribution industries on the theme of “Changes in the Consumer Marketplace and Strategies of the Distribution Industry.” Three panelists each from the U.S. and Japan attended; one of the Japanese panelists, Masatoshi Ito, founder and honorary chairman of the Ito-Yokado Group, said in his presentation, “For future retail trades, it is most important to be rooted in a local community, respond sensitively to consumers’ needs and supply safe and good quality products, instead of emphasizing price competition.”

An audience of about 130, including wholesalers and retailers from both countries, listened attentively to the lively discussions.