Sojitz Group promotes Group employees' participation in grassroots social contribution activities with the aim of deepening involvement in local communities.
Acceptance of Company Visits
Sojitz has welcomed visits by junior high and high school students. Sojitz employees introduced Sojitz Group initiatives the students and engaged in opinion-sharing discussions with them.
In August 2019, students from Fukuoka Prefectural Shuyukan Senior High School and Toyama Prefectural Toyama Chubu Senior High School visited Sojitz’s offices. Students took part in a game to experience working in a general trading company and made connections with Sojitz employees.
Sojitz Scholarship Program at Kobe University
Since 2016, Sojitz has organized an endowed lecture series at Kobe University called “The Sogo Shosha in a Global Environment” in celebration of Sojitz’s deep historical ties to Kobe. Each fall, around 20-30 students from Kobe University take the Sojitz lecture series given by Sojitz employees, which spans seven sessions. The classes focus on understanding the world through the activities of a sogo shosha, and on thinking about leadership in a global context. Starting from 2019, Sojitz also offers a Sojitz scholarship to students demonstrating academic excellence from different university departments.
Cooperation on a Career Management Course at the University of Tsukuba Graduate School
Since FY2011, Sojitz has sent a company executive to give a lecture on career management to graduate school students at the University of Tsukuba Graduate School.
This program is offered by the Japan Project-Industry Council (JAPIC), of which Sojitz is a member, in cooperation with the University of Tsukuba. The program seeks to help students think and build skills related to their career development after they complete graduate school. Sojitz is cooperating in this program with the aim of helping to train the next generation of corporate leaders in Japan.
In FY2020, the course was held over three sessions beginning in October. In the first session, Sojitz Executive Vice President Ryutaro Hirai gave a lecture focusing on global megatrends, in which he discussed the topic of Japan’s industrial theory and the activities of trading companies in the changing global economy. In the second and third sessions, three business division COOs discussed challenges they face in their business activities. Each session saw the presenters and students engage in lively discussions.
Through the program, participants shared their visions for their future careers, stating that they wanted to become a businessperson capable of working with anyone in the world, that they wanted to create exceptional products and happy people, and that they had a desire to be involved in activities to develop people and public infrastructure that are closely rooted in communities.
Cooperating on Corporate Training for Elementary and Middle School Teachers
In August 2021, 10 elementary and junior high school teachers from Higashimurayama City, Tokyo, took part in an online training course held by Sojitz. Since FY2009, Sojitz has cooperated in a program sponsored by the Keizai Koho Center, in which teachers from elementary, junior high, and high schools receive training at private companies during their summer vacation, as they typically have few opportunities to experience corporate activities.
On the day of the training, the staff member in charge of the Turkish hospital business introduced the process and challenges involved in building and opening a hospital in Turkey, and the participants learned about Sojitz's approach to employee development and sustainability.
One of the teachers who attended the seminar said that they would like to teach students about trading companies that are actually engaged in global business in their social studies classes, and another shared that they would like to encourage children to have dreams and aspirations for the future, and that they needed to be aware of what kind of jobs there are in the world as a teacher.
Advising Inquiry-based Learning at Hiroshima Prefectural Kake High School
On June 4th, employees from Sojitz Machinery Corporation and Sojitz’s Yangon Branch provided advice to three students from Hiroshima Prefectural Kake High School (Takanori Takahashi, Yuga Mizutani, and Masato Sasaki) who are researching ways to conduct business in Southeast Asia utilizing local products.
The students presented their business model, which involves exporting powdered Jerusalem artichoke, a local specialty product of Hiroshima Prefecture, to Southeast Asia where they hope it will contribute to preventing lifestyle diseases in the region and to the development of industry in Hiroshima Prefecture. Employees from Sojitz Machinery and Sojitz’s Yangon Branch shared advice with the students as general trading company employees working on the front lines of business, and they also shared their personal experiences of being stationed overseas, their challenges, and their business experiences on the ground.
As the discussion took place online with staff in Myanmar, which is currently undergoing a period of political instability, the discussion provided a good opportunity for the students to feel closer with overseas regions and to build enthusiasm.
Sojitz Research Institute’s Contributions to US-Japan Relations and the Development of the Next Generation of Global Leaders
Sojitz Research Institute functions as a think tank positioned within a trading company, analyzing international politics and economics and publishing research and analysis both inside and outside the company.
In July 2021, in response to a request from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and the Consulate-General of Japan in Nashville, Sojitz Research Institute held a seminar titled “The Unstable International Situation: The Real Story Behind U.S.-China-Europe Relations.” Attending the seminar were staff from Japanese companies in the U.S. and personnel involved in Japanese language education at U.S. universities. The seminar received numerous commendations from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and consulate officials as a successful grassroots exchange program between Japan and the U.S.
As part of our efforts to develop the next generation of capable human resources, Sojitz also provides annual support for Nagasaki University’s Introduction to International Relations course. In FY2021, Sojitz held three separate lectures beginning in May regarding the business of general trading companies and international politics.
The professor in charge of the course at Nagasaki University commented that through Sojitz’s lectures, the students were able to gain a more concrete understanding of working in an international society, which enabled them to have a clearer vision their future prospects and potential challenges down the road.