LastUpDate: December 19, 2018

【Panel Discussion】
Expectations for Global Talent
and the Role of Global Talent in Fukuoka

◆Coordinator  Ota Hiroshi, Professor, Center for Global Education, Hitotsubashi University
◆Master of Ceremonies Yashio Keiko, Freelance Broadcater / Special Visiting Professor at Gakushuin University

◆Panelists - Ota Kazuhide, Professor and AQ Program Leader at Kyushu University
                  - Ryuzoji Kensuke, Presidents & CEO, Honda Kiko, CO., Ltd.
                  - Fujimi Tetsuo, Executive Concierge, Startup Cafe
                  - Sakurai Takafumi, Manager, Graduate Agent Service Department, Graduate Recruitment,
                                                                                                                          Recruit Career Co., Ltd.
                  - Takashima Soichiro, Mayor of Fukuoka City

Ⅵ Panel Discussion

1. Competition for Highly Capable Global Talent

 ▼Coordinator Ota Hiroshi
  There are many challenges in recruiting international students. For example, about 13 percent of international students in Japan are studying in Kyushu, but less than 5 percent of them find a job at a company in Kyushu.

▼Panelist Ota Kazuhide
    After completing the Kyushu University AQ program, 14 international students actually find a job at companies in Fukuoka, Nagasaki and Kumamoto. These companies include not only large companies but also small- and medium-sized enterprises. Since the beginning of the AQ program, we have been discussing recruitment of international students with President Ryuzoji of Honda Kiko, and his company actually hires our students. I believe that it is important to establish a close relationship with various companies to improve our program.

 ▼Panelist Ryuzoji Kensuke
  To survive, Honda Kiko has been recuiting highly capable global talent since about 10 years ago, but I believe that small- and medium-sized business owners need to realize the tough competition for highly capable global talent that has been taking place for survival in this global age. Moreover, international students need to actively take some action themselves in the future. It is very important for them to look into companies and then move forward to internship programs or matching services.

2. Japanese Language Proficiency Required by Companies in Japan

 ▼Panelist Sakurai Takafumi
  We often hear from international students that they don't know where the can find job information and employment opportunities or they would like to know requirement for job applications. In particular, as to Japanese language proficiency, international students would like to ask employers to clarify specifically what level of Japanese language proficiency they are required to have. Students majoring in humanities often tell me that they have been rejected at their interview due to problems in Japanese language proficiency. The situation is that Japanese companies tend to require a higher level of  Japanese language progiciency than that recognized by international students.

3. Career Paths for International Students

▼Panelist Sakurai Takafumi
  International students think of specific career paths. Accordingly, Japanese companies need to explain their internal career paths for them. For Japanese companies, most of their career paths are comprehensive work that is not limited to specific job categories. Japanese workers often experience several job categories at one company through job roation and personnel training over a long period of time. Which job new graduates should be assigned to will be determined by the employer. Meanwhile, international students usually wish to find a professional job. They wish to improve their skills in a short period of time. They wish to decide by themselves what sort of jobs they do. There is a huge mismatch there. There are some cases in which international students realize a mismatch in career path, not at the time of recruitment but after joining the company, and as a result, leave the company.

4. Dilenma of Becoming "Japanized"

▼Panelist Sakurai Takafumi
  To eliminate mismatches in career paths, there are two options. One is for the companies to become globalized. This requires management to voluntary diversity and globalize the company, including the personnel system. To some extent, they need to make a dicision. Therefore, only a few Japanese companies select this option.
  The other option is for non-Japanese employees to become "Japanized". Most Japanese companies select this option. In this option, a drastic change in the personnel system will not be made. While maintaining good aspects of the Japanese personnel system, the companies accept certain exceptions for non-Japanese employees become "Japanized", they may be able to understand the good points of Japanese companies, such as family-like management and membership management. In other words, in this option, they will recruit non-Japanese people who are expected to become "Japanized".

▼Master of Ceremonies Yashio Keiko
    Will the Japanese personnel system be accepted by international students?

▼Panelist Sakurai Takafumi
    International students told us that they need to become Japanized at the stage of job interview and to pretend to understand the Japanese way of thinking. If they don't so, they cannot be hired. They are facing a dilenma.
  However, in the meanwhile, there are other cases in which international students experience and realize the good points of the Japanese personnel system after joining the company and are inspired to make up their mind to work harder, or in which international students understand that they can develop thier skiils in comprehensive work and make a significant contribution. Accordingly, we cannot say what is correct and what is incorrect.

5. Japanese Personnel System

▼Panelist Takashima Soichiro
    In Japan, there are old-fashioned ways of thinking, such as called "swabbing the floor," in which you handle routine work at the time of joining the company and then guradually show your ability. I believe that there is also a mismatch here. What are the advantages for international students in the Japanese Personnel System?

▼Panelist Sakurai Takafumi
    One of the advantages for international students in the Japanese Personnel System is the program for "long-term job rotation and career advancement through personnel training." In terms of developing basic skills as a businessman, comprehensive work may be very meaningful for international students' career building.
    The second advantage for them is "employment security." In countries overseas, there are many acquisitions of businesses and employment is not secure, so employees need to improve their career by themselves. However, since the idea of protecting workers is strong in Japan, the companies can secure employment. Moreover, the "employment security" may lead to a certain loyalty to the company and understanding of company culture, and sometimes create additional value. Some examples include "omotenashi spirit" in the restaurant business in Japan. This is additional value created from loyalty to the company and understanding corporate culture.

▼Master of Ceremonies Yashio Keiko
    How do you handle career paths for international students at Honada Kiko?   

Panelist Ryuzoji Kensuke
    For the first year after the join the company, non-Japanese employees are dealt in the same way as Japanese employees. From the second year and onward, we will set annual goals every year. We will set the goals, like this year you are expected to be capable of doing this or you are expected to study this and master this. We will review the progress every month at a face-to-face meeting.

Coordinator Ota Hiroshi
    I feel that Japanese personnel and recruiting systems are at a turning points. From a global perspective, the Japanese system is very peculiar. While we say "finding a job," in reality, it is "finding a company" to obtain membership in company.
    Recruiting time begins very early, which creates confusion for international students. They need to start preparing for job hunting activities right after the first semester of the first year of their master's course had finished. Moreover, the recruiting period for new gradurate recruitment is only for once a year, not a year-round recruitment, which is also a peculiar aspect of the Japanese system.
    The same thing is true for career paths. In Japan, based on long-term (lifelong) employment, there is basicallly a great deal of resistance by employees to change jobs in the middle of their career, but in countries overseas, it is normal to change jobs to pursue their career. Moreover, your marketability in the job market will increase if you accumelate work experience. In Japan, new gradutes who have no experience are the most valuable in the job market. It is very difficult for international students to understand this. If a company wishes to acquire global talent for globalization of the company,I believe that it is neccessary for the companies to adjust the Japanese personnel system and customes of recruitment in accordance with global standards.

6. Startups

▼Coordinator Ota Hiroshi
    There is a Japanese business challenge that many international students point out. They tell me that Japan is behind in entrepreneur support and innovation support programs and their improvements. The reasons for this include that there are too many regulations, which, international students say, is impeding the revitalization of the Japanese economy.

▼Panelists Fujimi Tetsuo
    It is important to create and how to create a base for aceepting risk taking. Efforts conducted by Startup Cafe to increase people who are interested in startups are one example for creating such a base. If the number of people who take risks increases, then the number of people who are generous with risk-taking will increase.
    For examples, I hear that at Amazon, people who have worked at startups are working there and Microsofts hired a person as a vice presidents who experienced a failed business by driving it into bankruptcy. Even if you fail in business, you can join a startup company to pursure your careers or you may support for creating startups by sharing your experience as a bad example. I believe that if there are many options, you can try anything again even if you fail startup business.

7. Not Knowing is a Risk

▼Panelists Fujimi Tetsuo
    What is neccessary to create startups is "information." If there is something you don't know, that will be a risk. If you know that you will die if you jump off from here, this is not a risk. If you have appropriate information, you can deal with decrease risks. At Startup Cafe we are always trying to provide appropriate information at an appropriate time.

8. Innovation

Panelists Takashima Soichiro
    I'm using an iPhone and it has been changed and updated continually. This is the progress of technology that we can see. Our set of values has drastically changed after the Great East Japan Earthquake. While technology is rapidly advancing and our values are changing, if you sell the same products or services as that of three years ago, they cannnot be sold. I believe that this contributes to a sense of stagnation in Japan.
    Innovation, which creates new thing one after another in accordance with progress in technology and changes in values, is necessary for companies in Japan. Startup companies that produce products and services that meet the needs of the times must break through the stagnation currently overshadowing the country and drive the Japanese economy. It is necessary to create new startups. At the same time it is also necessary for poorly managed companies to try to start new business to reborn.
    For example, if Fujifilm had continued to produce only photographic film, it would have gone bankrupt. However, Fujifilm is producing high-function film required for Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) panels and moving into new fields, such as supplements and functional cosmetics, by making good use of the technology cultivated in the production of photograph film for a long time. Fujifilm is trying to restart new business one after another.
    It is necessary for the country to support companies like Fujifilm that have been reborn by themselves and have created and developed innovations, and not to support exisiting companies just to prolong their life.
    New technologies, such as drones and IoT technology, have currently been created one ofter another. However, If you try to start a new business, there may be  many barriers, for exapmle, the new business may not be covered by existing lows. So if you wish to start a new business, try it in a limited area of Fukuoka City, not nation-wide from the start. If your business succeeds in Fukuoka, then expand it nation-wide. To create such a new business role model, I believe that Fukuoka City will play a very important role in the future.
    It is important for startups and entrepreneurs whether they can take risks at the right time. By educating children to create something out of nothing, we would like to make all of Fukuoka City a city for startups. Fukuoka City will provide a place where people who take riskes and take on challenges will be respected regardless of whether you are Japanese or non-Japanese.

Master of Ceremonies Yashio Keiko
  Is there anything to do to succeed as a entrepreneur?

Panelist Ryuzoji Kensuke
    Now the Asian market is growing. It is important for entrepreneurs to see which direction the Asian market is heading. It is important for companies to develop, produce and sell products and services using Japanese technology and knowhow, upon judging which direction the Asian market will head, to survive the competitive market.

9. Business Arising from University's Research

▼Coordinator Ota Hiroshi
    In the United States, where universities play a role of incubators, entrepreneurs from research laboratories at many universities are creating startups. There are similar cases at Osaka University and other universities in Japan. How about Kyushu Univeristy?

▼Panelists Ohta Kazuhide
    Aiming at training talented leaders who will try to create new value on a worldwide level, Kyushu University is currently providing undergraduate and graduate students with entrepreneurship education at the Robert T. Huang Entrepreneurship Center (QREC). Kyushu University has various research bases relating to hydrogen energy, such as the International Research Center for Hydrogen Energy and Next-Generation Fuel Cell Research Center. I hope that at the time of practical application of hydrogen energy in the future, various business startups atrise at an early stage, due to a synergy effect between hydrogen energy and enterpreneurship education at the QREC.

▼Coordinator Ota Hiroshi
    I hope so, too.

10. Conclusion

▼Coordinator Ota Hiroshi
    There have been several interesting studies on forecasting future business. One of them estimates that by the time the kids who entered elementary school in 2011 graduate from university, about 70% of current jobs wil not exist.
    If you think about it, there are many jobs that did not exist when I graduated from university. In there days, companies that were once deemed as leading companies even went bankrupt. Amid rapid change in our society, we don't know where new business opportunities will arise. We needs to discuss this together in an interdiciplinary manner to find the answers.
    It is also very important to provide losers with a second chance. In Japan, if you fail or lose somewhere, you seldom have the opportunity to be given a second chance to try again. In the high school baseball championship, the team that wins the final match at Koshien stadium receives great acclaim because the team has not lost a game since the regional preliminary.
    However, I hope that Fukuoka City will be a people-friendly city that provides losers with a second chance.
    Someone said that Japanese business is rigid. Japanese people may be too obsessed with the successful experiences in the 1970s and 1980s. When considering starting a new thing, we often say, "If we do this, there is a risk like this." However, that may be more like an excuse for not doing a new thing than a risk. What is most important is that if you don't try to do the new thing, the risk for not doing it may be bigger that the risk for doing it.
    In other words, I'm deeply comcerned that Japanese people worry too much about "what if problems arise by doing the new thing" than the risk for not doing the new thing. In that sense, it is necessary for Japanese companies to be smart risk takers in the future, including recruiting international students to respond to globalization, even though there may be some degree of risk.

▼Master of Ceremonies Yashio Keiko
    There is more to discuss, but I guess it's time to bring it to the end. Thank you Coordinator Ota and Mayor Takashima and all the panelists for your active discussion today.