Mitsui & Co. Benelux

Mitsui & Co Europe Plc is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsui and Co Europe Holdings Plc. Mitsui & Co Europe Plc is one of Japan's leading sogo shosha or general trading companies. The origins of the Mitsui group go back to the 17th century when the house of Mitsui flourished under Hachirobei Takatoshi Mitsui, a merchant who came from a long line of feudal knights. Hachirobei founded a commercial enterprise dealing in dry goods, and the House of Mitsui grew rapidly. He applied innovative business methods in the fields of retailing, publicity and finance. Based on the foundations created by Hachirobei, Mitsui developed extensively to become a business group made up of companies from diverse sectors.

Mitsui and Co was founded in 1876 with the primary goal of opening avenues of exchange between Japan and the rest of the world, and it started with exports of rice and coal. In the same year, the Mitsui bank was also founded, and this helped bring in large government deposits and finance Mitsui's operations.

In 1883, the Company imported cotton-spinning machinery from Great Britain. In the early 1900s under the supervision of Takashi Masuda, Mitsui expanded to become a major commercial enterprise trading both in Japan and overseas. By 1906, Japan had changed from an importer to an exporter of cotton yarn, with Mitsui handling more than half of the outward bound shipments.

Trade continued to expand, so that the export of natural resources, the fuel and raw materials for industry, paid for the import of finished goods as well as machinery and advanced technology. This in turn spurred the emergence of domestic industries and new exports. The work of the trading company thus helped to transform national economies. As the circle of trade expanded, the number of trading partners increased. Mitsui had already opened offices in Shanghai, Paris and Hong Kong, New York, and London by the turn of the century. The trading company was the first to engage in offshore trade, promoting not only Japanese trade but also commerce between other nations.

Following Takashi Masuda, Takuma Dan, an MIT-trained mining engineer assumed control of the Mitsui Group and thoroughly modernised its operations. During his term of office, Mitsui increased its total capital six fold. In the 1930s Mitsui was directed by Seihin Ikeda, who streamlined operations and guided it through the difficult period of the depression, and then the trade embargoes and government controls of the war years.

In the early post-war years, the Allied powers ordered the dissolution of the Japanese ‘Ziabatsu' - family holding companies - and Mitsui was split up into hundreds of independent companies.

In the early 1950s the companies of the Mitsui Group started to rejoin as a group of voluntary affiliated companies, under the name of Mitsui. In the succeeding two decades Japan enjoyed a period of unparalleled high growth and the Mitsui Group resumed its former position as one of the country's leading conglomerates. The group is now made up of a large number of Japan's leading companies, and its activities cover an extremely diversified range of activities. Currently, the core Group includes 80 companies employing a total of some 340,000 people.

Mitsui's business activities may be categorised into the following sectors -Plastics, Basic and specialty chemicals, polyester and intermediate chemicals, and steel. Further we are nvestigating and monitoring on EU trends and regulation in the fields of Trade, Energy, Environment and Industries, etc. Mitsui has continually adapted its services to meet client needs. Today, its operations are global in scope and its clients, and its core competencies are:

  • Trading - facilitating international trading activities for its clients
  • Enterprise investments - creating new trade flows through investments in new enterprises and new industries throughout the world
  • Financing - offering finance as an integral part of the trading and business development activities
  • Under its Long - Term Management Vision (the Vision) released in April 1999, Mitsui is working to enhance the value added of its services through the application of its sophisticated information and financial technologies and risk management know how.


Mitsui's Brussels office was founded in 1960 as Mitsui & Co. Ltd. Paris Office Brussels Branch. On January 4, 1971, Mitsui & Co. Benelux S.A./N.V. was incorporated as a Belgian company. We purchased own building and moved to current address in September 1991.

In 2011, Mitsui Benelux celebrated its 40th anniversary.