After nearly three years of lackluster economic conditions, the global economy began stabilizing in 2013 on the back of an economic recovery in the United States, which should pave the way toward growth in 2014. Japan's economy is also expected to continue to realize a gradual recovery thanks to the government's economic stimulus policies, which have helped the country begin to overcome deflation.
Given these conditions, Canon's basic policy is to carry out further reforms in order to recapture growth, and we are implementing various initiatives aimed at achieving the targets we set out in Phase IV (2011–2015) of our Excellent Global Corporation Plan.
First, we will focus on strengthening existing businesses through the creation of outstanding hit products. Additionally, toward the establishment of new pillars of growth, we will launch new businesses in such fields as network cameras, mixed reality systems and displays for professional use, aiming to firmly establish the requisite business foundations and achieve sound growth.
In terms of marketing activities, in addition to reinforcing our sales capabilities tailored to the needs of each country and region, our innovative R&D will concentrate resources on technology themes that will pave the way to the future through accelerated innovation. We are also making progress with the Three Regional Headquarters management system and our globalized diversification efforts, as evidenced by the development of genetic diagnostic devices in the United States and commercial printers in Europe.
With regard to manufacturing, we will maintain and expand production in Japan through the use of automated production systems, accelerate local production for local consumption in the United States and Europe, and diversify risk in Asia. In turn, this will enable us to realize a globally optimized production structure.
Other initiatives we are carrying out target rigorous quality control, environmental consideration, the thorough reinforcement of information security, human resource development and corporate social responsibility (CSR).
To date, Canon has consistently stayed ahead of the times and changing business environments, creating numerous world's-first and world-leading products. Canon's history is a history of embracing challenges, a history of unwavering dedication and diligence. Change is progress; transformation is advancement. Now is the time to call on our enterprising spirit and the San-ji (Three Selfs) Spirit to return to the growth track as we aim to become a truly excellent global company.