We asked him about the mission and philosophy of CJCC and his passion for human resource development. (Interviewed at: April, 2018)
Mr. Yoshifumi Onishi: Chief adviser of CJCC Cambodian-Japan Cooperation Center. With sympathy for a human resource development mission of Japan in developing countries and his own belief in its importance, Mr. Onishi has moved to Cambodia after retiring his former job. On his former job in Japan, he constructed IT systems at Honda and learned organizational management. He says he wants make the best of his own career at a global company to make CJCC an organization with a high expectation.
Leading the organization to supply suitable industrial human resources
―――Please introduce yourselves
I worked at Honda Motor Co., Ltd. from graduation to compulsory retirement. I retired in December 2015. I was hoping to work for human resource development if I started a new job after retirement. Then I heard about CJCC.
I got interested in the mission of CJCC, which was to make dreams of people in the developing countries come true. In March 2016 I visited Cambodia and met the staff at CJCC.
At that time there was an employment fair being held at CJCC, and I got the chance to talk with students, companies, and staff at CJCC. The environment is not as good as that in Japan with fewer facilities at school and so on, however, the students work very enthusiastically. Although I had wanted to relax after retirement, I pondered on with the local people and decided that I wanted to contribute to a good result with them.
— Please introduce your organization
CJCC is a center in Royal University of Phnom Penh in Cambodia, and at the same time it is a governmental organization in Cambodia. The main implementing body is the Cambodian government and it is operated in cooperation with JICA and the Japan Foundation. JICA and the Japan Foundation also pay a part of the management cost of CJCC. Our mission is to produce businessmen or entrepreneurs who can lead the economic development in Cambodia in cooperation with Japan so that they can create profit to both sides.
Also, we would like to reinforce functions to supply suitable industrial human resource to Japanese companies entering the Cambodian market.
— How many students do you have now?
We have 49 courses for the Japanese language with 964 students. In the business courses, we have 30 courses and 1339 students. The duration of the courses ranges from 2 days to half a year. We also have tailor-made programs built on the needs of partners such as a course where students receive training at a company, a business-launching course, and a course where they learn management in the Japanese way.
For cultural exchange, we had 23,000 visitors at the Kizuna festival held this February, and we are expecting 35,000 visitors for the Tanabata festival this July. The purpose of the cultural exchange is to build stronger mutual trust and to deepen the understanding of the senses value of both people through the intercultural experience between Cambodia and Japan.
We must understand them before we educate them
— What ideas do you keep in your mind when you educate Cambodian human resource?
First of all, I do not believe the Japanese style management is always right. In some cases, Japanese thinking does not root and grow in the different environment just like seeds of plants. It is the same for management. Japanese style management has to be tailored and arranged to match the national character of Cambodia. To do this, we must understand the people in Cambodia.
The concept of “Ho Ren So (an acronym for report, communicate, consult)” is spreading now in Cambodia but sometimes it’s only the formality and not working as it should be. The cause of this problem is the one-direction flow of information and the weak action after “Ho Ren So”.
Many people in Cambodia believe that “Ho Ren So” is a flow of information from the subordinates to their bosses, however, “Ho Ren So” in the original form is bidirectional. Bosses educate their subordinates to leave some of the duties to them, and provide information to avoid the failure. Then the subordinates report the situation where they work, and bosses give them the necessary advice. However in many cases in Cambodia, the bosses seem to leave their work all without any explanation, and the communication seems one-directed.
Also, the main goal is the action after “Ho Ren So”, so only the formality is meaningless.
The Importance of Clarification of Roles and Responsibilities
— How do you approach that kind of problems?
The problems of this kind are often caused by unclear roles and responsibilities of the people involved. Therefore, the staff at CJCC discusses their own roles and responsibilities. Clarification of the roles and responsibilities enables the staff to recognize the issue, create tasks, propose solutions, and act actively. It grows them into active human resources. Also as for our students, we aim to foster human resources who do not sneak away, hide, nor cheat. As we are all human beings, making mistakes is acceptable to some extent when the task is difficult. However, I believe a valuable human resource for companies is the ones who do not repeat the same mistake.
China and Korea becoming larger
— Please tell us about the future prospect and the current situation around human resources with Japanese language skills
Japanese language education will vitalize within Cambodia. But there are more active countries among ASEAN countries. For example, there were three times more test takers at the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) in Myanmar than in Cambodia last year, although there were about the same number of test takers in both countries ten years ago. Also, they introduced Japanese language education at the secondary education in Laos.
Japanese culture is still popular in Cambodia, but the language and culture other than Japanese are raising their popularity. For instance, at restaurants and construction site, they use the Chinese language.
Under this situation, the role of CJCC, which is a culture center to spread Japanese culture, is becoming more and more important.
Helping the dreams come true with all strength
— Please tell us your “hot topics” in your company, if any
At the moment CJCC is conducting a questionnaire about job-hunting to university students. We are going to release the result around this summer. The data will help companies considering to enter Cambodian market recruit local staff because it will reveal the Cambodian students’ senses of value such as what qualities they prioritize when they find a company. And of course, we do our best every day for the development of Cambodia and Japanese companies.
— Please leave the readers some messages
CJCC is an active institute that helps your dreams come true with all strength. It is located within the Royal University of Phnom Penh and it’s easily accessible. I’m looking forward to seeing you.
- CJCC Cambodian-Japan Cooperation Center
- HR & Consulting