The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

When it comes to internships, Japan is beginning to break with tradition. While the country values international experience, it is also known for shukatsu, the practice in which students hunt for a job before graduation. This system puts those who study abroad at a disadvantage because they are not in Japan when companies vet and employ graduates to entry-level positions.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ), in collaboration with the Embassy of the United States, Tokyo, and the U.S.-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange (CULCON), is changing this with its Internship Portal. Now well established, this section of the chamber’s website connects Japanese students with internships when they return to Japan, therefore improving their prospects for being hired.

ACCJ member companies can share internship oppor­tunities through the portal and provide tangible assistance to those interested in international careers. It is also a way of encouraging Japanese students to study in the United States and US students to come to Japan.

Through US-style internships, students can gain real-life work experience without sacrificing their studies. And soon-to-be graduates gain the knowledge and confidence that will set them apart as they build their careers.

ACCJ Education Committee Co-chair Mark Davidson, who is director of government and external affairs at Amway Japan G.K., told The ACCJ Journal: “The portal has proved highly effective in attracting some of the best and brightest Japanese students studying in US universities to join us for internships. Supporting the Internship Portal is a powerful way for us to help cultivate global talent.”

OPPORTUNITIES
To give an idea of the kinds of opportunities available to students starting their careers, here are seven ACCJ member companies currently offering internships through the portal:

  • Amway Japan G.K.
  • Big Picture International, Inc.
  • FCA Japan Ltd.
  • GR Japan K.K.
  • Kreab
  • PGIM Real Estate
  • SThree

The range of experience on offer is broad.

Interns at Amway are assigned to a single division as a full professional team member for a period of eight weeks. They participate in enrichment activities for professional skills development, learn about global business operations, and experience Amway Japan’s business and culture.

Big Picture International provides a chance to gain experience in sales support and e-commerce business management support, as well as online marketing and advertising for international blue-chip companies in the healthcare, media, entertainment, and IT sectors, as well as retailers and ecommerce merchants from around the world.

GR Japan provides a great hands-on chance to learn about public policy research and analysis, report writing, editing, and strategic development. Interns collaborate closely with project leaders in implementing strategic outreach and engagement plans with government officials, members of the Japanese Diet, media, and other key policy stakeholders.

And interns at PGIM support the transaction team in the preparation of feasibility studies for new investment oppor­tunities—including both financial modeling and research analysis—and asset cash flow modeling. It’s a great chance to gain exposure to research initiatives on benchmarking exercises and lease negotiations for real estate.

The ACCJ is always looking to expand the range of learning opportunities for students and young members, and welcomes companies who would like to be part of the portal.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

Only ACCJ member companies can provide internship positions through the ACCJ. If you represent an ACCJ member company who would like to be involved, please email programs@accj.or.jp. If you are a non-member company who is interested in learning more, please contact: membership@accj.or.jp

And if you are a student or recent graduate looking to gain experience, please contact the ACCJ through the portal web page at:
www.accj.or.jp/accj-internship-portal.html

Christopher Bryan Jones is Editor-in-Chief of The ACCJ Journal. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, he has lived in Japan since 1997.