Read 2010

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Personal Independence Strengthens Japan

In my previous opinion column, I noted that companies should conduct reforms without treating employment as a sacred cow. Companies are not obligated to protect employment. It is true that companies need to sustain the Japanese virtue of community-type management as a natural prerequisite, because that links directly to their strength; but when the surrounding environment is this turbulent, demand for the ability to adapt rapidly to change is placed on them. And in these circumstances, companies may not be able to preserve lifetime employment.

Companies essentially believe that they cannot guarantee lifetime employment. They have a short lifecycle that some would explain with what they call the Thirty-Year Company Theory. Such people consider it impossible for a company to guarantee employment that lasts much longer. The economy did happen to achieve long-term, stable growth from after the war up to the present day, but this might have been a plain miracle. Under the current Internet revolution and global competition, the winner-takes-all/loser-loses-all process occurs at a much greater speed.

In such a state, each and every individual needs to think on his own and measure his own market value objectively. He must judge where the company he belongs to is headed while checking that his skills are not out of date. He himself must continue to develop skills required for the next age, or else he can never guarantee his own employment. The company does not guarantee your job; your own efforts guarantee your job.

We basically have to acquire employment/jobs on our own through individual efforts, while society supplies the safety net. When each and every citizen adapts to change and demonstrates his value, employment/jobs will come. It's your life; you basically need to be responsible for it. Complaining to the government won't do anything. Government finance can collapse as well. You basically have to acquire your job with your own efforts, firing up that indomitable spirit.

The collective state of such individual efforts is what produces the national power of this country called Japan. A national system that allows individuals to slack off will not compete against countries with stricter systems, like South Korea and China. Tax or social systems that punish people who are trying hard or producing value are inconceivable. Japan needs to enforce a system that makes individuals try harder, or else the entire nation will never achieve growth.

But this will require new industries that will create such employment. And the people who create such industries and new employment are the innovators. Proactively capitalizing on the explosive growth potential of innovators is, in fact, what I believe offers the quickest solution. That's why I am expending my full efforts and GLOBIS' resources on developing such human resources and creating new industries.

In the next opinion column I'd like to take up the topic of innovators.

March 4, 2010
Yoshito Hori

 

Mr. Yoshito Hori established GLOBIS Management School in 1992 and GLOBIS Capital Partners in 1996. In 2003, GLOBIS started its original MBA program which, in 2006, received accreditation from the Japanese Ministry of Education and gained “university” status. GLOBIS started a part-time MBA program in English in 2009 and a full-time MBA program in English in 2012.

A Harvard MBA graduate and former Sumitomo Corporation employee, Mr. Hori founded the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) Japan Chapter in 1995 and became the first board member from Asia in charge of Asia Pacific region in 1996. He also served on the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s New Asian Leaders Executive Committee and Global Agenda Council on New Models of Leadership, as well as the Harvard Business School Alumni Board from 2005 to 2008. Currently, Mr. Hori is a board member of the Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives), and serves as co-chair of WEF’s Global Growth Companies.

In 2008, he launched the G1 Summit – a Japanese version of the WEF’s annual Davos forum. This led to the foundation of G1 Summit Institute in 2013, which Mr. Hori serves as Representative Director.

Just days after a huge earthquake struck northeast Japan in March 2011, Mr. Hori launched Project KIBOW to support the rebuilding of the disaster-affected areas. The following year Project KIBOW was incorporated as the KIBOW Foundation, which Mr. Hori serves as Representative Director.

An avid enthusiast of the Japanese game Go since age 40, Mr. Hori has been Director of the Nihon Ki-in (Japan Go Association) since June 2013.

Since October 2013, Mr. Hori has hosted a weekly TV program in Japan called Nippon Mirai Kaigi (Japan Future Conference). He has authored several books including Visionary Leaders who Create and Innovate Societies, Six Dimensions of Life, and My Personal Mission Statement.

Mr. Hori received his BS in Engineering from Kyoto University and his MBA from Harvard Business School.

He is an avid swimmer and enjoys spending time with his family, especially his five sons.

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