ASEAN Career Fair with Japan 2021 – Pre-event Symposium Report and Video

IAFOR hosted an online Pre-event Symposium at the 9th ASEAN Career Fair with Japan, in collaboration with Singapore Management University (SMU), the IAFOR Research Centre at the Osaka School of International Public Policy, Osaka University, and Energize, Inc.

Video Chapters

  • Welcome Address - Dr Joseph Haldane, Chairman and CEO, IAFOR (00:00) 
  • Opening Remarks - Henry Yeo, Head of Postgraduate Career Services, Singapore Management University (05:00)
  • ASEAN Career Fair Introduction and History - Professor Haruko Satoh, Research Director, OSIPP-IAFOR Research Center, Osaka University (14:47)
  • Work Together & Advance Together! (Kerja Bersama Maju Bersama!) - Ambassador Masafumi Ishii, Former Japanese Ambassador to Indonesia (32:21)
  • Practical Advice on Working (and Living) in Japan - Mr Frank Foley, CEO, Next Big Thing KK, Japan (1:05:48)
  • How Japanese Companies are Innovating (and need your help in the future) - Professor Philip Sugai, Doshisha Business School, Japan (1:34:02)

Following welcoming addresses from Dr Joseph Haldane, Chairman and CEO of IAFOR, and Henry Yeo, Head of Postgraduate Career Services at SMU, Professor Haruko Satoh, Research Director of The IAFOR Research Centre and founder of the ASEAN Career Fair then gave an overview of its history and meaning.

The symposium was honoured to welcome His Excellency Masafumi Ishii, the recently-retired Japanese Ambassador to Indonesia as the first keynote speaker. Ambassador Ishii spoke of the great synergistic relationship between Japan and Southeast Asian countries that was destined to continue to strengthen in future years. In a keynote presentation, titled "Work Together & Advance Together!”, he drew on his recent experience in Indonesia and underlined that while Southeast Asia may have needed Japan more than Japan needed them in the past, in the future that role would be reversed.

There then followed presentations by Frank Foley of Next Big Thing Japan KK, and Professor Philip Sugai of Doshisha Business School. They expanded on many of the themes raised by Ambassador Ishii and Professor Satoh, to include perspectives from both business and academia.

Frank Foley gave an experienced executive's take on what it is actually like to live and work in Japan, outlining some strategies for success, and humorously pointing out that, contrary to popular myth, there are many Japanese enjoying an excellent work/life balance.

Professor Sugai looked at Japan as a leading innovator, but presented some case studies outside of the better known traditional technology and automotive companies, to include innovators in companies as diverse as LIXIL, Eriko Horiki, Hosoo, Suntory, and Nestle Japan.

Professor Satoh moderated the talks and interactive question and answer sessions on the challenges and opportunities of working and living in Japan, as well as building a career in global Japanese companies.

The symposium was a great success and we would like to thank all the speakers who took part in the event.

This free event was sponsored by The International Academic Forum (IAFOR).

Panel Speakers

Masafumi Ishii

Masafumi Ishii was the Japanese Ambassador to Indonesia until December 2020 and has just retired from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs having served there for more than 40 years. His posts in Tokyo included Director for Policy Planning, Special Assistant to the Foreign Minister, Director General for Global Issues, and Legal Advisor. His overseas experience has included Saudi Arabia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Belgium, and most recently as the Japanese Ambassador to Indonesia from 2017-2020.

He has frequently participated in international seminars and symposia and he is well known for his policy planning insight as well as his long-term experience in working with partners in ASEAN countries. He holds a law degree from the University of Tokyo and an M.Phil. in International Relations from the University of Cambridge, Queen’s College, UK.

Work Together & Advance Together! (Kerja Bersama & Maju Bersama!)

Japan (JPN) and Southeast Asian countries (SEA) are destined to cooperate as equal partners because SEA has a great potential for future development and JPN has potential and incentive to help SEA’s development. Increase in number of tourists alone shows we are good friends as well.

This means that JPN and SEA can work together because we are so complementary to each other. For examples, while SEA needs vocational training, JPN needs young and talented labor. While SEA still needs infrastructure building for development and better life, JPN is happy to make use of its existing technology. SEA requires increase in export for further growth and JPN needs overseas export base for further growth as well.

This also means that JPN and SEA can advance together into future. Most of JPN companies will maintain its investment in spite of Covid19. They will continue to invest on people and are ready to help SEA establish more incentive-based employment system. SEA can play major roles in connecting 2 growth centers, Asia and Africa and, by doing so, contribute to future global prosperity. SEA can improve its own investment environment for its growth. SEA people working in JPN companies can also promote necessary internationalization in JPN companies as well as in JPN society as a whole, for example, by promoting daily use of English.

In short, opportunities are there in front of you, audience and it is up to you whether to grab them or not!

Frank Foley

Frank Foley is a senior executive in entertainment licensing with over 30 years of Japan-based experience. He has worked with many of the world’s leading brands and has built and managed teams of 10 to 60 people. He has been responsible for some of the world’s most popular children’s and family-oriented brands including Thomas & Friends, National Geographic, Fox TV, Guinness World Records, HarperCollins Publishers, and Harlequin Romance.

Frank’s specialization is brand strategy and he has been responsible for a number of brand localization projects for Japan including the introduction of the Japanese character (Hiro) in Thomas & Friends; the conception of the National Geographic Learning – the market-leading graded reader series; and the creation of an innovative brand licensing business model for Guinness World Records. He currently runs his own business, Next Big Thing Japan KK, a consultancy company which focuses on market-entry and start-up opportunities in post-COVID Japan.

Frank was born in Ireland and moved with his family to Australia when he was 14. He first came to Japan as an exchange student in 1980 from Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia where he majored in Japanese language and Japanese society. He lives in the historical Japanese capital city of Kamakura. He is a fluent Japanese speaker.

Practical Advice on Working (and Living) in Japan

I have two goals today. Firstly, to give you all a feel for the reality of working in Japan. Over a 30 year career, I have worked for both the international divisions of Japanese companies and for Japanese subsidiaries of major international companies. In both contexts I have worked as a staff member reporting to a local boss, and as the Japan Country Manager leading mixed Japanese/non-Japanese teams. Based on this experience I will offer insights and practical advice from the frontline to help you: (1) make the best decisions regarding your career path in Japan, and (2) avoid some common pitfalls. Topics I will cover include: local or international company as my first employer?; the most common mistakes I have seen made by non-Japanese employees working in Japan; and, what would I do if I was starting out again?

My second goal is to emphasize work-life balance. I consider this to be at least as important as your actual career choice. It is very common for non-Japanese employees to be drawn into a work bubble often with little interaction with Japanese people. I firmly believe that to really experience and understand Japan you must get involved in the local community and, most importantly, make Japanese friends. I will share two practical suggestions on how to achieve a healthy work-life balance and get the best out of your experience with Japan.

Philip Sugai

Philip Sugai is a Professor of Marketing within Doshisha University's Graduate School of Business where he currently teaches Marketing, eMarketing, Marketing Research, and Sustainable & Responsible Marketing. Dr Sugai also served as a Visiting Professor for Stanford University from 2015-2017, where he taught Innovation in Japan at the Stanford Overseas campus in Kyoto. Prior to joining the Doshisha University faculty, Dr Sugai taught at the International University of Japan in Niigata – where he also served as Dean and Associate Dean of the IUJ Business School for six years.

Philip Sugai is the author of two books, Building Value Through Marketing: A Step-By-Step Guide (Routledge) and The Six Immutable Laws of Mobile Business (John Wiley & Sons) and has published case studies with Ivey Business School Publishing on Suntory, KITKAT Japan, AGL, Hatsune Miku, and Walt Disney Internet Group.

He received his PhD from Waseda University and his MBA in Marketing and Operations Management from New York University's Leonard N. Stern School of Business. He has worked as a marketing executive at American Express, Muze, Inc., and Lightningcast, Inc., and currently serves as a marketing advisor and marketing strategy consultant to companies both in Japan and globally.

How Japanese Companies are Innovating (and need your help in the future)

Japanese companies continue to be at the forefront of innovation but in ways and places that may come as a surprise to many. This presentation will focus on products ranging from candies to whisky to traditional crafts and materials, and highlight how innovative thinking and practices have guided Japanese companies to succeed even in the most challenging times. This presentation will focus on how innovation is happening outside of Japan's traditional technology and automotive companies, with short case studies from some of Japan's top innovators including LIXIL, Eriko Horiki, Hosoo, Suntory and Nestle Japan. From these cases, an understanding of how international talent can help further Japan's innovative capabilities will be explored.

Posted by IAFOR