Four decades of diplomacy

After serving for nearly four years as the European Union’s Ambassador to Japan, Viorel Isticioaia-Budura will be returning to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bucharest, Romania, and will report for work on 1 September, 40 years to the day since he signed his contract to join the ministry. During his four decades of service to his country and the EU, he has been Ambassador of Romania to the Republic of Korea and People’s Republic of China, and was head of the Asia–Pacific Department for the European External Action Service in Brussels before being posted to Japan.


“The EU and Japan … have the right understanding of the complexity of the brave new world we are facing to go out together and do something for the public good”

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JULY 2018 / Q&A

Spain in his veins

There is a tradition of public service in Spanish Ambassador to Japan Gonzalo de Benito’s family. His father and grandfather were in the military, and his three daughters are all public servants. Ambassador de Benito has served his country, promoting Spanish interests and values abroad, as ambassador to Peru, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.


Toward a clinical utopia

There must be many urban residents of Japan who have arrived at a clinic or hospital and — recalling the crowded waiting areas, treatment rooms lacking privacy and consultations that seem to be over before they have even begun — thought twice about stepping through the doors.


Apex K.K. Executive Search

Apex K.K. is an executive search firm specialising in the recruitment of bilingual professionals from mid- to senior-level management positions. “Often in our market-driven culture, companies focus on the products but forget that it’s the people who create, market, sell and promote goods and services,” says Japheth Worthy, manager of the Medical Device team.


A role model

I believe in the saying, “A life lived for others is the only life worth living”. I want to do everything I can to help those around me, to see that many people are happy, and so I’ve worked. To me, work is a means of meeting many people and it allows you to direct your energy to achieve these goals. As we work, we develop and grow, and live more fulfilling lives.

JUNE 2018


Sales master

Most people reach an age, goal or position in life where they feel they’ve achieved enough and can ease up a little and enjoy the fruits of their labour. But despite being at an age where many choose to retire, and with an impressive array of accomplishments already behind him, Dr Greg Story is showing no sign of slowing down. President of Dale Carnegie Training Japan since 2010, the Brisbane, Australia-born Story has spent a total of 31 years in his adopted home.

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Emphasising quality

A member of Iceland’s parliament since 2003, Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson has had many roles throughout his political career, including minister of health and social security from 2007 to 2009 and chairman of the EU–Iceland Joint Parliamentary Committee from 2013 to 2016. Currently, he is Iceland’s minister for foreign affairs.


A smart day in the life

Imagine waking up in a world where everything is done for you, from chores to food preparation, all at the touch of a button or a spoken command. It may sound like something out of The Jetsons, the American cartoon set in the 2060s, but this future of smart home appliances is coming out of the realm of cartoons and becoming a reality.


R&M Japan

R&M has been developing and producing cabling solutions, such as fiber optics, since 1964. “We are a leading global producer of future-proof products and systems for high-end communication and data networks,” says Kazunori Kurose, managing director at R&M Japan. “Our products help to secure voice, data and video transmissions.”

MAY 2018


A diverse community

On 23 May 1928, a group of 51 American businessmen founded Tokyo American Club (TAC) as an exclusive place for expatriate Americans to gather. However, over the past 90 years, the club has undergone several transformations, occupying six buildings in different locations around Tokyo. Its present home, an eight-storey complex, opened in Azabudai, Minato ward, in January 2011. It has also seen a transformation in terms of its demographics.

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Turning words into actions

With a career in the Danish Foreign Service spanning more than 35 years, Ambassador of Denmark to Japan Freddy Svane is adept at seizing every opportunity to strengthen ties between Denmark and Japan and encourage greater collaboration between the two nations. He is also an unflagging champion of economic diplomacy, promoting his nation’s business interests wherever he goes.


A fertile business

European firms are helping Japan make more babies. It shouldn’t be a surprise that a country running short of children has one of the world’s busiest fertility hospitals. The Kato Ladies Clinic in Shinjuku, central Tokyo, performs an average of 27,000 in vitro fertility (IVF) cycles per year. Dozens of women file through its operating suites every day to have their eggs stimulated, extracted, fertilised, frozen and implanted.


Better than business as usual

Since 1999, senior executives from businesses in Japan and the EU have met annually to discuss ways of encouraging greater trade and investment. The forum, called the EU–Japan Business Round Table (BRT), boasts leaders from nearly 50 well-established multinationals, including Airbus, Bayer, IKEA and Rolls-Royce on the EU side, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Nissan, Sony and Toshiba on the Japanese side.

APRIL 2018


An emerging champion

The dangers that businesses are exposed to today are more considerable and diverse than ever before. One example is the threat of large-scale, organised cybertheft, brought about by the exponential growth of the digital economy; a total of 128.1 billion cyberattacks were documented in Japan alone in 2016, according to the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology.

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Taking more ground

After nearly a year in Japan, Ambassador Giorgio Starace has settled confidently into his role, enthusiastically supporting the efforts of Italian businesses here, working to strengthen political cooperation, and promoting Italian culture. He spoke with Eurobiz Japan about the remarkable increase in Italian exports to Japan, a collaboration in space, and how Italy and Japan are planning to work together to support Africa.


The mission to change the world by 2030

There’s a colourful, boxy graphic making the rounds on the internet these days; it looks like a calendar or the periodic table of elements, but with simple icons. The boxes are a representation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a United Nations initiative — adopted by 192 countries at the 2012 Rio+20 conference — that is a successor to its Millennium Development Goals.


Heineken Kirin K.K.

Heineken has been a proud sponsor of the Rugby World Cup (RWC) since 1995. “Rugby, like Heineken, is enjoyed all over the world,” says Martijn van Keulen, general manager of Heineken Kirin K.K. “At Heineken, we share the values of the RWC — respect, pride, passion and internationalism. We aim to bring enjoyment and memorable experiences to Rugby World Cup fans by providing creative and entertaining campaigns.”

MARCH 2018


A positive outlook

For years, Japan has been accused of not changing fast enough. Many bemoan factors such as the nation’s shrinking population, its outdated patriarchal business world and the sluggish economy. However, three directors from Bilingual Recruitment Solutions (BRS), the international arm of the recruiting giant Persol Group, have a more positive outlook.

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Looking at the horizon

Since he was a boy growing up in Thessaloniki, Greece, Leonidas Karapiperis has been fascinated by science. He studied mathematical physics at the University of Sussex, and then did his PhD in microelectronics at Cornell University. After seven years of research in the private sector, Karapiperis took a position at the European Commission in 1988.


The future of driving

As we embrace the age of artificial intelligence, the relationship between cars and their owners is undergoing arguably the biggest transformation since the invention of the internal combustion engine. The rapid development of vehicles that can, to differing degrees, drive themselves has been greeted with excitement and trepidation in roughly equal measure.


Antoine Bourgeois

The great blues, jazz and rock guitarists, such as Albert King, Wes Montgomery and Prince, make their instruments sing — and make it look effortless. When he was in his teens, Antoine Bourgeois, today president of Clarins Japan, wanted to know what made these musicians’ songs so good. So he appropriated his sister’s neglected guitar and taught himself how to play.



Unleashing potential

Competition is heating up for a limited talent pool of bilingual professionals to staff a booming corporate Japan. In this climate, two businesses — the bilingual arms of Japanese recruitment giant Recruit Group — serving the sector are undergoing a rebranding. On 1 April, CDS will become RGF Executive Search Japan, while RGF HR Agent Japan will become RGF Professional Recruitment Japan. These changes are aimed at clarifying their positions in the market and their service offerings for clients and candidates in Japan and across Asia.

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Moving to a new level

On 11 November 1868, Japan and Sweden signed a Treaty of Friendship, Navigation and Commerce, just two and a half weeks after the official start of the Meiji period. This year marks 150 years of formal diplomatic relations between the two countries. Swedish Ambassador to Japan Magnus Robach sat down with Eurobiz Japan to speak about what’s planned for this special anniversary year.


Winds of change

Japan’s wind power industry is getting ready to soar. International and domestic players are introducing new technology and investing in a greater deployment of wind energy. Now it is up to the Japanese government to get the legal and environmental framework in place to help this sector take wing.


Leif Nilsson

In northern Sweden, there is a small town called Lycksele that is frequently treated to the dazzling light shows of the Aurora Borealis. Leif Nilsson, general manager for Asia–Pacific at Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), was fortunate enough to grow up beneath this radiant spectacle.



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