The number of foreigners working as permanent employees within Mie prefecture is on the rise. What kinds of companies do foreign employees work at? What kinds of initiatives are companies using to help for foreign employees take on an active role?
This time, Wang Juan and Yan Yan, who are international university students in Mie, along with helpers Akamatsu Shigeru and Sugisaki Sae conducted interviews at Nakagawa Denso Co.,Ltd. in Matsusaka City.
Nakagawa Denso hired Vietnamese employees in 2017 and Korean employees in 2018. Vietnamese and Chinese technical intern trainees are also part of the company.
[Interview with President Kawanaka Eisuke ①]
Q: What are your thoughts about the employment of foreigners?
A: There are around 10 to 20 foreign employees working here. We do ask our foreign employees whether they would like to permanently reside in Japan or whether they want to return to their country in the future. However, the company is fine with either choice. We operate in various countries so I think it is good to have people from various countries in our main office in Japan.
We were taken on a tour of the factory at the head office. This factory is responsible not only for the development and design of molds for precision press manufacturing, but also the manufacture and mass production of metal and resin parts, and quality assurance.
They also manufacture parts that are indispensable for automobiles and household electric appliances such as “door closers”, which regulate the doors of automobiles so that they open and close automatically at a constant speed, and valves which control the flow of water in a washing machine.
Aside from Japan, there are also subsidiaries in Korea, China, Thailand and Vietnam.
[Interview with President Kawanaka Eisuke ②]
Q: What is the situation with the overseas subsidiaries?
A: We established the first subsidiary in Korea in 1972. Now, the president of that company is Korean, and the clients are Korean companies like LG Electronics and Samsung.
I would like to aim for the same both in China and in Southeast Asia. To that end, I think it’s a good idea for employees to come to Japan to train and learn more about Nakagawa. Hopefully there will be employees who can develop into executives.
[Interview with Executive Officer Kurosawa Sei’ichi]
Q: Is there anything that foreigners and Japanese people should be careful about when working together?
A: When making a product, there needs to be a procedure manual (a document detailing how to make the product). When we have foreign workers, we have to translate the Japanese manual into Chinese or Vietnamese so that they can learn from it. That’s the bare minimum required to work together I think.
Also, the job must always be done with a consistent method and attitude. In order to understand that, the employees must learn Japanese. The same goes for us: we also have to learn their language to make sure there are no misunderstandings.
In addition, Nakagawa Denso provides lifestyle support so that foreign employees can work comfortably.
[Interview with Ueda Katsunori, Deputy General Manager, Nakagawa Holdings Co., Ltd.]
Q: What kind of support do you have for foreign employees?
A: I am teaching Japanese to employees. They are aiming to pass the Japanese Language Proficiency Test.
This year, Mr. Lee Jin Kyu from Korea joined Nakagawa Denso as a permanent employee. He says his reason for joining the company was the strength of their technology.
[Interview with permanent employee Lee Jin Kyu]
A: After coming here and seeing the factory where they make the molds and meeting the staff, I decided I wanted to work here.
Q: Do you have any trouble communicating in the workplace?
A: There are many times when things aren’t taken the way I expected them to be.
But even with other Korean people, the same thing happens. In times like that, I have to make an effort to make things clear or the work will not progress right.
Technical prowess and overseas expansion… Employees striving to make use of their potential… A company that creates a productive working environment for its foreign employees…
At Nakagawa Denso Co., Ltd., we were able to see a company that does this, which is developing by building strong relationships with its employees.
An article written by reporters Wang Juan and Yan Yan is posted here. A report meeting is scheduled for December.
Nakagawa Denso Co., Ltd.
Establishment: July 1977
Head office location: Mie-ken Matsusaka-shi Matsusakiura-cho 163-1
Articles coverage by foreign reporters
Business visit report meeting
Date and time: Saturday, December 8, 2018 13:30 ~ 15:15
Location: Ust Tsu 3F (Tsu-shi Hadokoro-cho 700)
This video was produced with a subsidy from the CLAIR (Council of Local Authorities for International Relations)