News Letter

News Letter – International Hopefuls+ #5

International Hopefuls +
Issue 5
September 5, 2019

1. I-HoP News (by Mariko Katagaki)

-Career Plan Survey 2019
Regarding I-HoP Career Plan Survey 2019, almost 300 students have responded. We greatly appreciated your participation and we will use the collected data for future career support programs.

2. Japanese Language information

-General Japanese Language Course Second Semester 2019
(Hokkaido University Institute for the Advancement of Higher Education)
The Second Semester class will be start from October 2nd. The application will be open from Sep. 10th (15:00-) to Sep. 24th (-15:00). The paper-based syllabus is available at I-HoP.
Do not miss the chance to study Japanese!

As informed in the previous Newsletter, the next chance for JLPT (Japanese-Language Proficiency Test) is December and the application period will be August 20 (Tue) – September 20 (Fri), 2019 (-17:00).
We strongly recommend checking the website and apply!!

3. Memo from the Visiting Professor (Y. Iida)

My dear International Students and Researchers,
Hokkaido Foreign Resident Support Center is open and has started its operation on August 29. The multi-language web site covers 11 different languages besides Japanese, and the center provides free on-call or walk-in support services. For the details, please visit
The municipal government of Hokkaido operates the center. Establishment of the center is a part of activities by the government to make Japan a friendlier place to live for the foreign residents. Likewise, a job fair for international students and residents is organized by Career Bank on Saturday, September 28 at Asty 45 (Kita-4 Nishi-5). Ten Japanese companies who are interested in hiring international talent will give a short introduction of their company (in Japanese), which is followed by an individual face-to-face meeting with the applicant. If you are interested in this “all in Japanese” event, please register at the following URL:

4. Hult Prize Social Business Idea Competition
Be a part of 200,000 student teams in the world. Are you interested in solving social problems as defined by SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) of the United Nations? Your career option may not be limited to work for an existing company or research institution. Launching your own business is a possible alternative. Students of Hokkaido University is lucky because we will be holding a campus level competition whose winner is assured of advancing to the regional tournament. Even if you don’t win the campus level competition, your team of 3 or 4 can still apply through the general application on the web. Attending the campus level competition will significantly increase the probability of being selected through this web-based application. For example, the team “Aquamou” the winner of Tokyo Regional competition 2019 was No.2 in the campus level competition last year. Endurance and enthusiasm are the essential skills of an entrepreneur.
Keep your calendar open for Saturday, December 14, which is the date of Campus Level competition at Hokkaido University this year. Stay tuned and watch for further notification at the following Facebook page of the Hult Prize @ Hokkaido University.
The theme of the Challenge of year 2019/20 will be announced in the middle of September.

5. Seven Steps of Career Management Process

Starting from May, this section deals with the seven steps of Career Management Process that you need to follow through when you plan to start job hunting or change your career path. The process outlines the cases for non-academic career pursuit but it in general covers most of the academic career as well. The seven steps of Career Management are defined as follows:

Step-1 Make up your mind for the change
Step-2 Assess your value
Step-3 Identify Jobs and Tasks
Step-4 Gather Information on companies/institutions
Step-5 Initial Decision to narrow down to a few targets
Step-6 Recognize the gap and catch-up with training/education
Step-7 Apply for a Job

We will explain the Step-4, Gather Information on companies/institutions this month. There are around 4,210,000 private companies in Japan. The number of large companies by definition of having more than 300 employees (in case of the manufacturer) or capital fund of 300 million yen or above makes up only 0.3% (12,000 companies) of it. 99.7% (number-wise) of companies are SMEs (Small to Medium business Entities). SMEs have their unique technologies or services that many of the large companies heavily rely on for their final product. SMEs used to deal only with its controlling company (financially or supply-chain-wise). But the latest global competition forced the controlling companies to open-up their supply chain to non-affiliated or non-related companies which caused SMEs to find alternative business sources other than the controlling companies to survive. Some SMEs are eager to expand their business globally and are willing to hire international talents.
In the case of Japanese students or those who can read Japanese, Kaisha Shikihou (会社四季報) is the most comprehensive database of major corporations. There is no English version of it to our regret. Second-best database in English of some company listing can be found at:
This is a listing of the winners of “Good Company Award” of the SMEs. They are listed by industrial category in alphabetical order. The list only leads you to the company’s English homepage, but this may be a good entry point.
To find companies closer to your research topic, check the authors of research papers of your academic discipline. If you find authors from companies or research institutions, check the company profile. It is too optimistic to assume that there would be any research position at such a company for you, but this may be the closest company where your research skills and specific knowledge can be utilized.
Most of the English homepage of the company is prepared for its customers. There is a unique link for “Recruiting” or “Job Opportunities,” but most of them are connected to the Japanese page. To find information on the company’s future plans or strategic objectives, which defines their resource needs for highly skilled talent such as Ph.D., can be found at “IR” or Investors Relationship links. Most companies disclose their strategic objectives (such as mid-range plans) to their potential or existing investors to s