Takeshi Yukawa, Chairman and CEO of OSG Corporation
Since 1970, Takeshi Yukawa’s mission has been to educate the world of the health benefits of the clean water and sterilizing water that his company creates
With more than 40 years of experience, OSG has been constantly evolving and adapting in order to provide high-quality water products. The company was established in 1970 by an ambitious young 23-year-old, who took on five young employees that went on to help him to develop and launch his unique brand of water purifiers in 1974. That 23-year-old was Takeshi Yukawa, who is still chairman and CEO of the company today.
“At that time, paying for water was not part of the Japanese culture,” he recalls. “Nevertheless, our economy was increasing, so it created dirty water and air, which obviously was not so good for the environment. In the 70’s, nobody really cared much about water or realized about its effects on health. Nevertheless, we wanted to introduce this concept to society and show the people the connection between water and health. It was about educating society about its health benefits. Hence, I saw a big opportunity there.”
Mr. Yukawa took his opportunity and today OSG is one of Japan’s leading manufacturer and supplier of water purifiers, water ionizers, and soft acidic water generators hygiene management systems. OSG’s hygiene management systems are used in a broad range of fields, such as in the food industry and in medical institutions; while its ionizers and purifiers can be found in homes and businesses across Japan.
“We make sterilizing water by electrolyzing. We manufacture and distribute machines that produce this sterilized water and they have already been used by major drinks companies and food manufactures,” explains Mr. Yukawa.
In 2002 the company took its first steps overseas when it set up operations in China. Now the OSG boss wants to spread his message about the connection between health and water around the developing world, just as he did in Japan in the 1970s – something which, to him, is more important than profit.
“Business is important, but more than that, I regard it my as mission in life to convey to the world’s people the importance of the relationship between water, health and the human body,” says Mr. Yukawa. “We want the world to know the connection between water and health. About two million people die from contaminated water each year, according to the World Health Organization.
“As a general pattern, when economies improve, people’s livelihoods also improve, but the ensuing environmental degradation results in poorer air and water qualities. But once they are able to procure the basic necessities of food, clothing and shelter, people are also able to think more about taking care of their health. It is not just about selling our products, we are trying to bring prosperity.”
In 2020 OSG will celebrate its 50th anniversary, which is the same year that Tokyo will host the Olympic Games. Like many in Tokyo, Mr. Yukawa is looking forward and gearing up for the event. The OSG boss intends to use the Olympics as a platform to disseminate the benefits of the company’s products to the millions of visitors and Olympians who will descend on Tokyo for the Games.
“Our company wants to focus on preventing summer heat stroke at the Olympics. From airports all the way to venues, there are going to be plenty of OSG products. It is a great idea to serve our water as soon as people get off the planes, especially after a long flight where dehydration is quite frequent,” says Mr. Yukawa.
“More than 10 million people a day will be coming to see the Olympics and there will probably be a great number of plastic bottles. Hence, we are going to have pressurized water at venues, different stations and all over the place. The 2020 Olympics and the fact that it is our 50th anniversary: it is just the perfect momentum for our company to shine.”