JIN-346 -- The Road to a Job in Japan Can Lie Through Boston

T H E J @ P A N I N C N E W S L E T T E R
Commentary on the Week's Business, Technology and Cultural News

Issue No. 346
Wednesday November 16, 2005 TOKYO

+++ VIEWPOINT: The Road to a Job in Japan Can Lie Through Boston
1. Companies Turning to Overseas Students
2. The "Fumi-e Dinner" and the "Road Show"

Semiconductor Industrial Tour 2005

Ibaraki Prefectural Government and JETRO are giving a tour
of 'International City Tsukuba' in Ibaraki. The tour is open to
foreign businesses and government bodies, and other foreign
investment-related organizations interested in the semiconductor
sector. The tour will introduce areas where large-scale semiconductor
development projects are conducted. The keynote speaker is
Mr. Kenji Maeguchi, Executive Director of the Semiconductor
Industry Research Institute Japan.

Date/time: November 24, 2005 (Thursday), 9:00-18:00.
Venue: Tsukuba International Congress Center.
Charge: Free (sponsored by Ibaraki Pref. Govt. and JETRO)

For more details:

ICA Event - Nov 17

Speaker: Greg Tarr - Founder & Chief Executive Officer,
SecureMobile and Partner, CrossPacific Capital

Topic: The Next Threat - W-CDMA/EVDO Mobile Security

RSVP Complete event details at http://www.icajapan.jp/

Date: Thursday, November 17, 2005
Time: 6:30 Doors open, buffet dinner included
Cost: 3,000 yen (members), 5,500 yen (non-members),
Open to all - Location is Foreign Correspondents'
Club http://www.fccj.or.jp/static/aboutus/map.php
+++ VIEWPOINT: The Road to a Job in Japan Can Lie Through Boston
1. Companies Turning to Overseas Students

About 4,000 students from around the US gathered in Boston for the 19th
Career Forum, sponsored by DISCO International, a US subsidiary of a
Tokyo job-placement firm, at the World Trade Center from October 21 to 23.
Human resources managers from 127 companies pushed the total number
of participants over the 5,000 mark. Almost all were Japanese.

Students in crisp new suits made the rounds of the booths of companies
where they'd like to work. First they received a simple explanation at a
table. Next, if they were lucky, they were called into a space enclosed in
white cloth for a private interview with recruitment staff. Some Japanese
recruiters conducted interviews with Japanese students in English.

The number of participating companies at this year's forum was third
highest on record. Still, there was insufficient space for the requested
number of booths and interview rooms. Participants overflowed from the
World Trade Center, spilling into hotel lobbies and Chinatown eateries.
For the first time ever, companies were turned away for lack of space.

Driving the reinforcement of recruitment activities are the economic
recovery and the dwindling number of children. Companies had curtailed
hiring after the burst of the bubble economy. Now hiring has not only
rebounded but received a jolt from the economic recovery. Meanwhile,
companies have globalized their activities. So they need personnel capable
of cutting it overseas. Because overseas Japanese students are competent
in English, manufacturers accelerating overseas operations and foreign
companies in Japan are also eager to hire them.

The list of participating companies reads like a who's who of Japanese
blue chips--Fujitsu, Honda, Hitachi, Matsushita, etc. Thirty-two companies
participated for the first time this year. They included the Bank of Japan
and Amazon Japan, both of which had until now preferred to hire in Japan.

What does it cost a company to tap this wellspring of potential global
gladiators? A booth accommodating three sitting abreast costs
1.8 million yen. A private interview room with a small round table goes
for 250,000 yen. Yet there were Japanese companies who rented four booths,
15 interview rooms, or dispatched 30 or more personnel to the forum.

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2. The "Fumi-e Dinner" and the "Road Show"

Companies invite students who made an impression during the day to
get-acquainted receptions at restaurants near the World Trade Center
on the evenings of the first and second days. They roll out the red carpet
to win students' favor. Lehman Brothers, for example, wines and dines
job candidates at a five-star restaurant.

Meanwhile, students are on tenterhooks waiting for a love call. Multiple
invitations force them to tip their hand. Unlike daytime, when they can
booth hop, they must choose among receptions taking place on the same
evening. MBA students call an evening reception with a company's HR
people a "fumi-e dinner," after the "fumi-e," or tablet with a crucifix or
other Christian icon, on which Europeans were forced to tread to prove
they were not adherents of the faith, proscribed by the Tokugawa shoguns
from 1628 - 1857.

Then there is the "road show," the visit of corporate recruiters to
Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and other locations of leading
universities in advance of the start of Career Forum. The purpose is to
forge connections with superior students as early as possible. Companies
even give send-off parties in Tokyo for students accepted in MBA programs
in the US on the eve of their leaving. Parting words from company reps
are, "See you in Boston."

A further sign of the intense competition for overseas students was a job
fair held in New York by an Osaka-based company this year. DISCO
International has also held job fairs in London and Los Angeles and will
hold its first in New York in February.

(See "Strategic Recruiting in Tokyo" in the October 2005 issue
of J@pan Inc for local efforts to find experienced bilinguals

--Burritt Sabin

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Written and edited by Burritt Sabin (editors2@japaninc.com)

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