At 8:30 a.m. we headed to Hosei University where Dr. Matthias Frey – Head, Science & Technology Office Tokyo, Embassy of Switzerland in Japan – welcomed us. After a brief introduction about the Hosei University given by Till Oehler we took the elevator to the 26. floor. From the “Sky Hall” we had an astounding outlook over the never-ending city Tokyo. We got introduced to Japanese students from the University by their professors Prof. Horaguchi and Prof. Taji. Subsequently, we got divided into groups. Each group consisted of three ZHAW students and one Hosei University student. Next, we left the Hosei campus and walked to the nearby Yasukuni shrine, a place where Japanese pray for everyone who died on behalf of the country, including soldiers and citizens. After a short walk through the pretty garden of the shrine we got back to the “Sky Hall” where we students from both universities hold presentations. Hosei University students presented their research work on “Japan’s Furniture Industry and Its Export Strategy: Case of Fuchu Furniture in Hiroshima” and “Internationalization of Japanese Liquor Makers: Developing a New Market in Vietnam”. Followed by two presentations given by ZHAW students. Moritz Schneider, Florian Gruber, Lindita Asllani and Joël Sonderegger presented their research paper about “IKEA in China – How Multinational Enterprises into Emerging Markets” and Nathanael Hausmann conducted a presentation about “Tourism Asia-Pacific region”.
Before lunch, Prof. Dr. Rüttimann introduced a discussion task to the divided groups. Each group had to discuss what Japanese companies do need to consider, while expanding their business to Europe (Switzerland) respectively what Swiss companies need to consider, while expanding their business to Japan. After 15 minutes of discussion time each group presented their results in the plenum. Afterwards, the Hosei University offered a delicious lunch.
By metro we moved from the Hosei University southwards to the Embassy of Switzerland in Tokyo. Edgar Dörig – First Secretary to the Head of Mission in Tokyo – welcomed us at the embassy. Ensuing Charles Ochsner, entrusted attorney of the Embassy of Switzerland in Tokyo, gave a very interesting talk about his impressions of Japan, which he experienced over the last 30 years. His presentation had a good mix of facts and philosophical perspective on the business world and the legal landscape in Japan. A very interesting point was the fact on how decisions are made in Japanese companies. In order to come to a decision, a large group of employees gather to collect their opinions and try to make a decision out of these ideas. Interesting to notice here is the fact that this process takes a long time and after a decision has been made the person who made the final decision cannot be identified.
Next, Urs Bucher, the Swiss ambassador in Japan, introduced the embassy and its different divisions. He invited us to an ensuing delicious Apéro riche in his residence. A handful of his staff joined the lively discussions. Unfortunately, we had to leave the embassy in order to stick to our schedule. The students could from then on freely dispose over the late evening.
Already the first day of our field trip was worth to travel to Japan.