Japanese new year's decoration somber

2011 Year-end greetings from Japan Intercultural Consulting

Overshadowing 2011 for all of us at JIC has been the triple tragedy of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in Japan this spring.  The sadness lingers in all of our hearts, and our prayers are with everyone in Tohoku who is valiantly struggling to rebuild.

The strength of the yen and the flooding in Thailand have also been severe challenges for our clients this year.  In the midst of this difficult environment, Japanese companies are putting increasing emphasis on their international activities, and are making substantial commitments to developing their global human resources.  Meanwhile, the events in Japan have given firms from other countries a renewed awareness of the important role that Japan plays in their businesses.  We continue to support those trends with our cross-cultural training and HR consulting services.  Here’s some news about what we’ve been doing, and what’s coming up for 2012.

 Active around the globe

 In each of our locations we’ve been very busy, with many exciting new client projects and continued close work with existing ones.  In Japan, we’ve been helping many companies think about ‘what is globalization?’, and how to take it in stride. In Europe, we’ve had record turnover, with particular growth in the Netherlands and Germany.  Our Latin American team is busy with many auto industry projects in Mexico, and the enthusiastic response to our new capabilities in Brazil.  In the U.S. we’ve had particular interest in teambuilding sessions and in our new intercultural and English assessments for expatriates. We’ve also helped many firms that have been acquired by Japanese companies with post-merger integration projects, as overseas M&A activity by Japanese firms continues to be strong.

Coming up in 2012

In the United States we are working on an exciting new development, teaming up with other experts, that will enable us to offer a greatly expanded range of HR-related services to our clients.  Look for an announcement soon with details.  We’re also excited about our new China branch, with bases in  Shanghai and Hong Kong, coming on line very soon.

More books and articles

 I’ve been continuing my writing activities, with a new column in the Asahi Shimbun (Japan’s equivalent of the NY Times) that started this spring.  I’ve also published two new books in Japanese, one on negotiating co-authored with JIC’s Makiko Masuda and Chiyoko Ono, and one on meetings that’s an update of my best-seller from 10 years ago.

We very much appreciate everyone’s support and enthusiasm for our work during this past year, and look forward to serving you in 2012.  Best wishes for a happy holiday season, and prayers for peace on earth.