Participation of Sumitomo Metal Mining and NEC in Education Program Gives Added Momentum to Expo 2025, Osaka, Kansai, Japan

Sumitomo Metal Mining and NEC, which are Sumitomo EXPO2025 Promotion Committee members, participated in the “research meetings” education program of Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan on November 9, 2023 and December 5, 2023. Employees of the two companies made presentations as lecturers and exchanged views with junior high school students across Japan about initiatives to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Designed for youngsters who are destined to be future leaders, the Expo 2025 education program encourages them to get involved in Expo-related initiatives and gives added momentum to the fast-approaching Expo. It is a good opportunity for them to learn about the SDGs and think about ideas related to the Expo theme of “Designing Future Society for Our Lives,” and moreover it fuels their interest so that they will take every opportunity to visit the Expo in 2025.

Initially launched at elementary schools and junior high schools in Osaka in fiscal 2020, the program’s coverage has been progressing nationwide since fiscal 2022. From Sumitomo Group, Sumitomo Chemical and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation participated in this program in November 2022.

At research meetings, Sumitomo Metal Mining and NEC introduced their initiatives to achieve the SDGs, responded to the youngsters’ questions on the initiatives, and exchanged views.

From Sumitomo Metal Mining, Ms. Kanae Yamashita of the General Affairs Center, Besshi-Niihama District Div., who works at the Higurashi Villa Memorial Museum, made a presentation as a lecturer on the company’s SDGs initiatives, in which she referred to SOLAMENT™, a solar-smart material developed by Sumitomo Metal Mining. This material takes advantage of the near-infrared energy of sunlight, which had been largely overlooked until recently. She explained to the students how the adoption of a fresh perspective can reveal what was previously unnoticed, enabling one to come up with new ideas that lead to the saving of resources and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Ms. Yamashita's profile
Ms. Yamashita also introduced the Higurashi Villa Memorial Museum where she works.
Ms. Yamashita and junior high school students connected online
Ms. Yamashita (left) and junior high school students connected online.
Explanation of SOLAMENT by means of a quiz
Explanation of SOLAMENT™ by means of a quiz

From NEC, Mr. Shun-Ichi Ikeda, a professional in the Corporate Communications Div., made a presentation as a lecturer. He explained how NEC is promoting development and implementation of ICT, including biometrics and AI, in ways that will benefit diverse stakeholders while contributing to the achievement of all 17 SDGs. He also highlighted the importance of “empathy for the future” in the context of efforts to achieve the SDGs. In order to cultivate empathy, he noted the desirability of making a conscious effort to appreciate the perspectives of others in addition to one’s own. He concluded the program with the message that observing and thinking from multiple perspectives is the key to empathy.

Mr. Ikeda’s profile
Mr. Ikeda’s profile.
Empathy leads to co-creation, a path to achievement of the SDGs
Empathy leads to co-creation, a path to achievement of the SDGs.
Junior high school students listening to Mr. Ikeda’s presentation
Junior high school students listening to Mr. Ikeda’s presentation.

After the presentation, there was a lively Q&A session with plenty of questions. The research meetings were valuable opportunities for Sumitomo Group to share its SDG-related values and initiatives with youngsters from all over Japan.

Lecturers’ comments

Ms. Kanae Yamashita
Higurashi Villa Memorial Museum
General Affairs Center, Besshi-Niihama District Div., Sumitomo Metal Mining
It was such a stimulating encounter with the youngsters. I refreshed my recognition that companies can do so much in the education field to safeguard the future of planet Earth. This experience supercharged my earnest desire to see Sumitomo Metal Mining continue developing together with the local community while always extending a helping hand to the young people who will lead the next generation.
Mr. Shun-Ichi Ikeda
Professional, Corporate Communications Div., NEC
My presentation focused on NEC’s initiatives to resolve social issues through technology. The lively Q&A session following my presentation was thought-provoking. I gained new insights and learned from the students. It was a memorable experience.