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  2. Theme01:Interest in Japanese companies

A Conversation with Foreign Associates

Foreign students graduating and being hired at Japanese companies is not as rare as it used to be. In fact, DENSO hires large number of such graduates. Why did they want to work for a Japanese company, and what were their strategies for succeeding in Japan's job market? Why did they choose DENSO?
To find out, we talk to three foreign associates at DENSO. Zui Oh is from China and studied in Japan. Bahman Soltani is from Iran, and Irina Kataeva is from Russia.

Profile of foreign associates

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Irina
Kataeva

Research Laboratories
Advanced Research Dept.

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Bahman
Soltani

Production Eng. Div.
Production System Eng. Dept.5

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Zui Oh

Human Resources Div.
Resources Planning and Recruitment Dept.

Please tell us what started you on your journey to Japan.

I studied Japanese in university in China. In addition to the Japanese language I learned a lot about Japanese culture, so I decided that I had to come to Japan to study.

In Iran, Japanese brands are respected, and my parentsf home had many Japanese products including cars and home electronics. As a child using technologically advanced Japanese products, I came to want to make such products myself. When I came to Japan around 2000, the Sony AIBO was very popular. I wanted to make such a robot myself. Then I heard that the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology put a call out for foreign students to study in Japan, and I applied. I received a scholarship to study in a Japanese technical college, and for the past years, Ifve been living in Japan.

When I graduated from university, I was an intern for 3 months at a Japanese electronics manufacturer. This is how I came to Japan. I stayed in Japan and went on to my Masterfs studies.

You had many other choices. What made you want to find a job in Japan? Did you struggle over this decision?

I did struggle over the decision. Do I stay in Japan and find a job, or go to another country like the US or Canada? I specialized in circuit design, and I had the choice of continuing my research, but I thought that since Ifd already spent three years in Japan, it wouldnft be a bad idea to use what Ifve learned and my experience to try my hand at a new area of research in Japan.

I wanted to work in an industry that was predicted to experience further growth in China. These industries were the automotive industry, beer industry, and cosmetics industry. I talked with my friends in China, and because Japan is advanced in many things and wanted to learn new things here, I decided to find a job in a Japanese company.

I was somewhat unsure because I couldnft communicate fully in Japanese, but my parents pushed me to give it a try, and I decided to stay in Japan to find a job. Some of the foreign students looked for work using monetary compensation as the yardstick, and worked in foreign firms in Japan, but I believed that rather than monetary compensation, I wanted to join a company that would enable me to improve my technical skills and allow me to grow. I believe that Japanese companies are better able to provide an environment for such human resource development.

Did your families oppose your decision to work in Japan?

Not at all. They gave me their support.

My parents didnft oppose my decision either. My parents have always supported what I do. I am from northern China, and flying to Shanghai and flying to Nagoya both take about 2 hours. My friends did tell me that itfs hard to find work in Japan, though.

Japan is far, so I think my parents were worried about me, but they respected my wishes.

Some people work in a Japanese company with the aim of returning to their homelands, and others want to build their careers in another country. What about the three of you?

I don't currently plan to go back to Russia. The reason is because it's difficult to find a work where I can use my skills and knowledge. When I graduated from university and decided to work overseas, I was prepared for the possibility that I would never return to Russia.

I am the same as Irina, and I am not thinking about going back to Iran. I do believe that some people want to change jobs and build their careers and eventually work in another country, but I believe that true ability will be recognized by this company. Going forward I want to settle down in Japan and learn some skills.

I believe that when itfs time to take the next step, one should think about it when the time comes to think about it. Ifm not currently at that stage. Ifm just focused on the present. Of course, I may someday think about going back to China. During the job hunt, itfs important to communicate what you want to do currently, not in the distant future.

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