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Partnerships with governments and policymakers around the world are vital for growing our Social Innovation Business to create a sustainable society. To deepen government institutions' understanding of Hitachi, we are strengthening our external relations globally-policy recommendations included-and feeding back to management information on social and policy trends.
The global expansion of our Social Innovation Business, particularly for social infrastructure with its strong interest from the public, makes those government institutions who are the main agents for social infrastructure important Hitachi partners as both customers and backers. The Japanese government has implemented a support structure for infrastructure systems that are being exported with the goal of strengthening Japan's industrial competitiveness. Our access to these systems and to government advice will be enormously helpful.
In our relations with government institutions outside Japan, we gather policy information from a range of sources and engage with government officials. This dialogue ensures that we have a solid grasp of local social issues and business needs and can help build better societies. For these reasons, our relationships with government institutions in and outside Japan are becoming increasingly important.
The Government & External Relations Division was established within our headquarters in fiscal 2009 to guide and accelerate the external relations of the entire Hitachi Group. This was in response to our 2015 Mid-term Management Plan, which focuses on the global expansion of our Social Innovation Business, as well as the growing support offered by the Japanese government for infrastructure system exports. Through this division, we are working to strengthen the dialogue between government officials and Hitachi senior management as well as external relations staff in our business divisions and Group companies. We intend to provide government institutions with a better understanding of our business and to offer policy recommendations on key comprehensive policy issues with the prospect of stimulating the industry as a whole.
Outside Japan, we have offices in Washington, DC, and Brussels to monitor policy trends and to manage external relations initiatives in the US and Europe.
To promote external relations Group-wide, we hold an annual Group meeting to share cases and issues, with an eye to boosting the efficiency of our activities.
In fiscal 2013, our then-President Hiroaki Nakanishi was appointed to Japan's Council for Science and Technology Policy, where he continues to make recommendations. Established within the Cabinet Office under the leadership of the Prime Minister, this council serves as the "control tower" for promoting science, technology, and innovation policy. The council oversees all of the nation's science and technology, creating basic science and technology plans, while formulating guidelines for allocating funds and other resources for science and technology. Also in fiscal 2013, then-Chairman Takashi Kawamura attended a "Government-Labor-Management Meeting for Realizing a Positive Cycle of the Economy" that makes recommendations on developing human capital and the importance of diversity.
Senior managers proposed specific programs after discussing and exchanging views with staff from government institutions on yen loans and other policies related to infrastructure system exports as well as the tax system.
METI provides a Global Internship Program, supporting global human resource development, to promote important network and cooperative relationships in business development in the host countries, as a part of its support for infrastructure system exports. During fiscal 2012 and 2013, 18 young Hitachi Group employees took part in this program, which sends junior-level employees from private companies to government institutions and local companies in emerging countries for several months. By participating in this type of program, we will be able to more accurately identify the needs of emerging countries and propose the best solutions for their particular social concerns, helping to resolve them.
Operating through business and industry associations is another critical aspect of our external relations. Hitachi is a member of Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), serving as vice chair as well as participating in several committees. In addition to making proposals on human capital development, education issues, and economic diplomacy, as the planning and coordination chair for the subcommittee on Europe, we urged the Japanese and European governments to enter into negotiations on a Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement. With these efforts, negotiations were launched in April 2013.
As a member of the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA), we are participating in the development of a Japanese industry response to the General Data Protection Regulation on personal data protection currently under consideration in the European Union, as well as the amendments to the Act on the Protection of Personal Information being considered in Japan.
Within the Japan Electrical Manufacturers' Association (JEMA), Hitachi is surveying the status of the development of the social infrastructure in emerging countries, including power generation and transmission facilities, to support promoting infrastructure system exports. We are also participating in public relations activities-primarily interactions with business operators in these countries-on how Japanese technologies and products can support to solve social issues in those emerging countries.
We participate in international conferences to deepen other nations' understanding of our business. We took part in events associated with the "ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit Meeting" held in Tokyo in December 2013, including discussions and conferences with ASEAN leaders by our directors and an exhibit showcasing Hitachi's products and business services. As part of Keidanren's international dialogue project, our executive officer went to Indonesia to mark the 55th anniversary of the beginning of diplomatic relations, attending meetings with key ministers. Hitachi also attended the "8th Japan-Colombia Joint Economic Committee Meeting" in Bogotá to strengthen bilateral economic relations. Additionally, we are participating in the TOMODACHI Initiative, a joint Japan-US cultural and educational exchange program organized by the United States Embassy in Japan and the US-Japan Council.
The Hitachi Group Corporate Office in Washington, DC, examines the impact of US government legislation on our business activities. To promote mutual understanding and improve business opportunities, we communicate to key stakeholders on how Hitachi can contribute to the growth of US society.
For example, we launched the Hitachi Government Relations Network (HGRN) in fiscal 2011. Made up of Hitachi Group companies in the US, HGRN serves as a platform for exchanging information on key laws and regulations that impact management and business, and for sharing the business impact of public policy. The HGRN also communicates with key policymakers in federal and state governments and with other government officials.
As part of the global expansion of our Social Innovation Business, we provide information to policymakers and government representatives on Hitachi's technological expertise to convey directly and indirectly how Hitachi technologies can contribute to US society. For example, with influential institutions such as the Brookings Institution, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), we provide knowledge on the benefits of Hitachi's business and technological capacity, and with this understanding, support policymaking at their institutions.
The Hitachi Corporate Office, Europe, (located in Brussels, Belgium) is active in European social issues, contributing to European policy development through business and programs that boost Hitachi's profile in Europe. As of November 2013, we have joined several of the European Commission's Environmental Footprint pilot projects, participating in discussions on policy formulation from an early stage. We also submitted recommendations on proposed amendments to European corporate law covering non-financial information disclosure as well as conflict minerals legislation to make certain that both of these initiatives help to resolve social issues as well as improve corporate value. In fiscal 2014, we pursue exchanges with policymakers, including workshops with European Commission staff, ahead of the 2014 healthcare-focused Hitachi Science & Technology Forum.