Thank you for your continued support and cooperation.
Looking back on the state of the global economy over the last year, despite trade frictions between the US and China and the uncertainty of US policy administration casting a shadow, private consumption and capital investment in the United States and Japan remained steady, and investment in infrastructure, including investment in science and technology, also increased in China. Even in Europe, economic expansion continued, particularly in Germany, making it a year that saw continuous, gradual expansion of the global economy as a whole. Meanwhile, demand for machine tools and semiconductor manufacturing equipment has recovered sharply due to increased need for semiconductor and factory automation, and the procurement of parts has been difficult. In addition, on the employment front, the serious shortage of manpower led to an unprecedented "super seller's market", so I think it was a year where ongoing economic expansion brought various issues to the surface. In order to respond to the changing social landscape, where technological innovations such as AI are steadily advancing, I believe that further strengthening of the communication between JAIMA members and collaboration on JAIMA's various projects will become increasingly important from now on, so I look forward to your further cooperation.
Allow me to tell you about our association's largest project, "JASIS".
In JASIS 2018, we will continue on from previous years with special projects, such as the Open Solutions Forum, which is popular as a place for companies to provide solutions, and the Life Science Innovation Zone, which has "the role of state-of-the-art biopharmaceuticals, healthcare and analysis equipment” as its main theme. Focusing on these special projects, we hope to grow JASIS as a place to provide all visitors and participating members with opportunities to discover new connections and ideas.
In addition, this fiscal year we will be fully deploying the "JASIS WebExpo" exhibition on the web, which we trialled last year. Beyond the JASIS event period, we would also like to offer more value-added services that will enable exhibitors to disseminate product and technical information and to obtain customer information. It is my hope that we can make effective use of the "JASIS WebExpo" as a means of approaching new users.
In addition to hosting an event in Makuhari this fiscal year, we will also be holding "JASIS Kansai 2019" for the first time at Gran Cube Osaka (Osaka International Convention Center) in February 2019, for customers in the Kansai area. We are incorporating the projects that have been highly rated at JASIS (Makuhari), with the aim of disseminating information on analytical and scientific instruments over a wider range to everyone in the Kansai region.
Going forward, I would like JASIS to continue to respond to the needs of our members and visitors so that we can grow and develop together. Your continued support for and cooperation with JASIS would be greatly appreciated.
Over the last three years since I took office as President, I have been working on each of the JAIMA projects, including JASIS. JAIMA will celebrate the 60th anniversary of its foundation in 2020, and the reason JAIMA has come so far is thanks to the various forms of support and cooperation that we have received over the years from our member companies, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, related academic societies and various other organizations, and for this I would like to express my sincere gratitude to you all. I will continue to do my very best to help further the development of both the Association and the analytical instruments industry, and I would appreciate your support and cooperation.