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  2. Theme04:Working at DENSO and going forward

A Conversation with Foreign Associates

Please tell us about your current work, and why it's satisfying or meaningful.

I currently work for the Production Engineering Div. where I'm in charge of the design and development of the process for manufacturing the brain of hybrid systems. As the person responsible for the line, I'm involved in a wide range of activities from the design stage to manufacturing the product, and it is tremendously satisfying. As an engineer, creating something myself and knowing that it will be used by large numbers of people is truly a joy.

I am in the Human Resources Division, and I work to manage and utilize external human resources, which includes hiring temporary associates, registering temporary associates into full associates. My work also includes global personnel planning, placing new associates, and creating human resource plans. The Human Resources Division is involved in a wide range of work, and I am in charge of only a part of this work. I do work hard, however, to maintain a strong grasp of what is happening in the company as a whole as I find and develop human resources.

I work in the Advanced Research Department of the Research Laboratories, and my work involves artificial intelligence. I can't talk about in detail, but I am imagining what automotive society will be like in 20 years and I am working to create circuits that can imitate people. This department has just started this year, and we are at a stage where we are laying the basic foundations, but we hope eventually to help create cars that provide safety and peace of mind through features such as automatic driving and hazard avoidance.

There's such an emphasis on sales numbers today, and it's great that you're able to be involved in basic research that involves such long-term thinking. Many companies are cutting back on that kind of research.

I think it's great, too.

Being able to think about the future in your work is characteristic of DENSO. Even in Human Resources, we will probably see more foreigners coming into the company and many opportunities to go overseas from Japan. One question, of course, is how to create a local human resource system in places where the culture and customs are different. Someday, I would like to help create such a global human resource system.

One of DENSO's strengths is that everyone regardless of their citizenship can work together sharing a wide perspective. If you put another way, you don't get special treatment because you're a foreigner. But this is the good thing. I get many opportunities to interact with people from associated companies including those who do work in the manufacturing site, and in the beginning many of them are surprised when they see me. They look at me as if they're not sure if I speak Japanese (laugh). But I find that if I am open with them, they are very kind in return. I have never found myself inconvenienced in any ways here, not even once. My work is full of opportunities to interact with many people. It's full of change and I never tire of it.

Lastly, could you give a few words of advice our encouragement to foreign students in Japan who are on their job hunt?

First, please learn Japanese as soon as possible, and get a grasp of the culture. That way you'll be able to use your own country's culture and Japanese culture in your work, which should let you handle work at a higher level as a professional.

As you can imagine from a company that has created a website for foreign students like this, DENSO is actively working to globalize and is working to hire foreign students. I believe that there are many opportunities here. You may be facing many obstacles in your job hunt, but don't feel like you're at a disadvantage because you're a foreigner?go straight for what you want to do. I look forward to working with you one day.

I'd like to quote Steve Jobs in his 2005 Stanford University speech. He said that you should "have the courage to follow your heart and intuition". Instead of worrying about if you'll be able to work in Japan and what you're able to do, take on the challenge without being afraid of the obstacles of Japanese language and culture. Life is short. If there is something you want to do in life, don't look for excuses why you can't do it. If you look for a way to make it happen, something will happen and even if you fail you'll learn some valuable life lessons. Just go for it!

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