Ms. Mariko Taketani Degree: Master of International Studies Position: Assistant Coordinator Affiliation: Education Project, Shanti Volunteer Association (SVA) Laos office, Message: I got many valuable opportunities such as field study,...
Kobe University’s Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies (GSICS) held a career seminar in May 30th 2015. The speaker was Mr. Hiroaki Saito, who is currently a Member in Japan’s House of Representatives and an alumni of GSICS. The title of the seminar was “Why Did I Choose My Career in Politics as an Alumnus of GSICS? How Can I Engage in International Cooperation, Making Use of My Career in Politics?” The seminar was chaired by Dr. Kenshi Yamanouchi, a Professor in GSICS at Kobe University. Dr. Keiichi Ogawa, Professor of GSCIS, did spontaneous translation.
Mr. Saito was introduced by Professor Kenji Yotsumoto, who is the Dean of GSICS, and Mr. Saito started his presentation by talking about his personal background, starting with his birth place (Murakami City in Nigata Prefecture), academic life and employment. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree from Gakushuin University and a Master degree from Kobe University in 2003. Mr. Saito informed participants that he did not enter politics by mistake, he always had a very high consideration towards public contribution and thought politics could be his only bridge to achieve his goal.
Mr. Saito noted that he may be the first graduate from GSICS to enter Japanese congress, and his quick ascension from General Affairs Division in 2003 to being a member in the House of Representatives from 2011 to date serves as a good example. Explaining the Japan civil service system, Mr. Saito asserted that career in politics is considered long lasting, with less discrimination and much opportunity of promotion. He added that becoming a high ranking member of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LPD) and, leader from Nigata 3rd District, has allowed him to be at the House of Representatives for nearly five years to date.
Mr. Saito spent the last part of his informative presentation explaining about the Japanese national diet system, characterized by mechanisms to strengthen the authority of the Prime Minister, a strong parliamentary system, a powerful party’s headquarters under a single-member district, a seniority promotion oriented, and a board of decision maker on financial and international agreements. Mr. Saito concluded his presentation with some practical advice on how to plan a career. He summarized his advice in four points: 1) job compatibility; 2) high level of professionalism; 3) efficient job hunting; 4) work flexibility arrangements.
After his presentation, Mr. Hiroaki Saito welcomed questions from the members present, which he expertly responded to. In general, the seminar was a very unique opportunity for the members present to learn the basics about Japanese political system and how to start and sustain a career in politics.
Authored by Bernard Yungu