Networking events for students and foreign-affiliated companies at University of Tokyo and Tohoku University

June 2019

In June, JETRO held networking events at the University of Tokyo and Tohoku University between foreign-affiliated companies in Japan and international and Japanese students who are seeking global carriers at each university. This was the second time for the event with each university to be held following last year.

In JETRO’s annual survey on Japan’s investment climate in 2018, foreign-affiliated companies in Japan identified securing global talent as the biggest obstacle to doing business in Japan for the second consecutive year. Regarding securing talent, the most commonly cited difficulty encountered was the lack of foreign language ability. Foreign-affiliated companies also indicated being interested in hiring international students studying in Japan. At the same time, even though many international students desire to stay and work in Japan, in actuality only about 30% of them are able to do so due to issues such as job-hunting system peculiar to Japan and language proficiency. With the aim of matching the needs of both sides, this year’s events also featured individual booths set up by companies to introduce the particulars of their business using promotional videos and booklets, drawing much attention from the total of more than 200 students at both universities.

Discussions on advantages in working for foreign-affiliated companies and qualities sought by companies

At the University of Tokyo, a pre event to the networking meeting was held on June 5. Yujin Yaguchi, Director of the International Education Support Office of the Division for Global Campus Initiatives of the university, made opening remarks. Following that, a keynote speech was delivered by Takeo Nakajima, Executive Director of JETRO’s Invest Japan Department, under the theme of "Working for a Foreign-Affiliated Company," in which he introduced successful cases of foreign-affiliated companies doing business in Japan and described differences in corporate cultures based on the location of parent companies. A panel discussion was followed, joined by four people consisting of international graduates of university who have experience working in foreign companies and Japanese employees in charge of recruiting at foreign-affiliated companies. Panelists deliberated on both the challenges and advantages in working at foreign-affiliated companies, the differences seen between Japanese and foreign-affiliated companies in corporate culture and the qualities in students sought by recruiting personnels. After the discussion, the panelists took part in an enthusiastic discussion with students in attendance.

Pre event at University of Tokyo

Deepening mutual understanding between foreign-affiliated companies and students

The network and booth exhibition in the University of Tokyo on June 11 was joined by 36 foreign-affiliated companies and 156 students of the university (including 127 international students). That of Tohoku University in June 19 was also joined by 20 foreign-affiliated companies and 89 students from Tohoku University as well as neighboring universities (including 61 international students). Among the comments JETRO received from foreign-affiliated companies which set up booths, particular praise was given as follows: "We were able to meet with people we cannot usually reach." "It was a good opportunity for us to publicize our company and services, and meet with excellent students." Conversely, students at both universities had the following to say: "I learned a lot through conversations with the companies." "Becoming familiar with companies which I did not know until today gave me more career options after graduation." Companies also expressed appreciation for a dedicated time set aside at Tohoku University for them to step away from their booths and speak frankly with students. One stated, "It was an excellent opportunity for us to learn what students are thinking." Matching the needs of both foreign-affiliated companies and students in one venue resulted in fruitful events which deepened mutual understanding.

Networking and booth exhibition at University of Tokyo

At Tohoku University