"Creativity Through High Inquiry & High Advocacy"
My international business experience started in Japan in 1991. I graduated from a two year M.A. program from the International University of Japan and was hired as the first foreign employee at Mitsubishi Oil Company. During my three years with Mitsubishi Oil, I was the only native English speaker involved in every major overseas project that Mitsubishi Oil had embarked on. I attended thousands of internal Japanese meetings and participated in hundreds of negotiations. I participated in numerous issues including finance, insurance, labor relations, operations, and setting up joint venture companies in projects in Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, Thailand and Canada. We worked with a host of major oil companies (BP, Chevron) and state run organizations. I was primarily the point-man with all the foreign legal firms Mitsubishi had engaged to help with our contracts and negotiations.
Having obtained more experience than I could have ever imagined I also started to witness first hand the difficulties of a foreigner working in a Japanese company with no support structure. I decided to take up a new challenge and joined ING Bank. ING was an exciting challenge and I had front row seats when ING Bank acquired Barings Bank to become ING Barings after a trader -Nick Leeson- lost billions of dollars betting on Nikkei futures.
During my seven years At ING Bank I was fortunate to have participated in hundreds of sales presentations to Japanese companies as we introduce ING's risk participation model of lending. In addition to handling Trade Finance in Tokyo I was put in charge of commercial operations for ING's representative office in Vladivostok, Russia. Our efforts paid-off leading to numerous transactions all over the globe. From Tokyo we were involved with almost all the medium and large size Japanese Trading Companies and I worked on an extensive pipeline of deals with colleagues in Russia, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand Brazil, Colombia, South Korea, North Korea, Czech Republic, London, Romania, Poland, and South Africa .
It was a great opportunity and I truly thought the deals we were doing benefited the people in all those countries. The Asian Financial Crisis, however, turned my career of doing deals into one of collecting debts. Working with "distressed assets" (as bad loans are called) is great negotiating experience but not what I wanted to be doing with my life.
Around this time I had started to get more and more involved in a small Internet start-up called Next Unit. I was given a small stake in return for helping with their business plan but the crash of the Internet bubble depleted my partners financial stability and their desire to continue. I now remain the only surviving founding member. Next Unit now manages two website networks www.kuchikomi.com and www.kanko.com and we are now expanding overseas to Thailand and the U.S.
My interest in training started after I was asked to teach an academic writing course for a Japanese Graduate program. The program cultivates Japanese who are interested in the development field to enter prestigious graduate programs and become experts in the field of development. My background in private sector banking and experience working in developing countries all over the world made a nice fit.
This led to requests from training companies to deliver skill building training in presentations and negotiations often to my former clients in the Japanese Trading Companies. I love working with Japanese business professionals especially since many of the training projects involve using Harvard Business Cases and include using current management theories and business frameworks such as Industry Analysis and Blue Ocean Strategy.
As a trainer, I believe my ongoing passion for building my business and starting new ventures keeps me close to the participants in my workshops. I understand all their frustrations since I am dealing with the same types of challenges and problems that they deal with, everyday.
As I met more and more corporate trainers I realized that many of the best trainers were unsatisfied with the approach that many "training" companies took. Many of these companies are offering business skill building training using language teachers who have little if any business experience. Or if they do manage to find instructors with business experience, most training companies often try to utilize language teaching techniques instead of actual skill building techniques. We started to analyze the problems with the training industry in Japan and we believe we have uncovered the biggest challenges to providing high-quality business skills training in Japan. Ultimately we decided to form Japan Solutions to tackle these problems head-on.
In the near future my goal is to develop services especially for Small and Medium-sized Enterprise in Japan and those foreign SME hoping to break into the Japanese market.
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