Dennis Awori: Toyota in Africa

Written by  |  Published in BUSINESS & TECHNOLOGY

Formerly Kenya’s ambassador to Korea and Japan (2004-2009) and now representing Toyota Tsusho Corporation as chairman in 13 African states, Dennis Awori knows a thing or two about Japan and its commercial links to the world. Tokyo Journal met up with Awori to find out more.

Doing Business in the U.S. and Japan

Written by  |  Published in BUSINESS & TECHNOLOGY

CEO in Focus

Clarion Corporation of America

Paul Lachner, President

TJ: Have you noticed any difference in the corporate cultures or management styles between Japanese- and American-owned companies?
LACHNER: Definitely. But I think it’s dangerous to classify all Japanese companies as the same. I think they are as diverse as American companies are. I spent five years at Sony before coming to Clarion. Of course, working for Sony I thought I was working for a Japanese company. Then I came to Clarion and I realized that Sony was a very different experience than it is at Clarion. Sony is a very Western Japanese company in their management, thinking and strategic planning, whereas Clarion is a more traditional Japanese company. Having only worked at two, I can’t generalize. But I can say that Clarion, as big as it is with 10,000 employees and $2 billion in sales, has a real family feel. It helps that almost all of the senior management in Japan have come through Clarion Corporation of America at some point in their career, so a lot of the folks in Clarion are well-known and liked here and do understand the American model.


Written by  |  Published in BUSINESS & TECHNOLOGY

Japan’s leading entrepreneurial companies, Rakuten and Uniqlo, are taking a no-nonsense approach toward going global by adopting English as the official workplace language.

Speaking the Global Language of Business

Drastic times call for drastic measures

Two of Japan’s top entrepreneurial companies have adopted English as the official language of their workplace. This is in a country with companies known for avoiding risk whenever possible. So why would Rakuten and Uniqlo take such atypical measures at a time when English-language proficiency is low in the country? TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language) score data from 2004 to 2005 placed Japan second to last in Asia in terms of English language skills with 191 points, only one point higher than North Korea. Not helping, the collapse of two of Japan’s largest English language school chains, Nova and GEOS, over the past six years has reduced the number of opportunities for adults to study English at private language schools. So this ‘sink or swim’ approach by Rakuten and Uniqlo to speak English in the workplace is a bold but strategic maneuver at a time when they are expanding to compete in the global marketplace where the official language of business is English.

Tokyo Journal

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