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Japanese and American business executives agreed on Thursday on the need to improve the education and training of employees to nurture next-generation leaders who can cope with fast-changing global markets.

During a seminar in Tokyo, they also reaffirmed the importance of business leaders being able to clearly communicate with their employees.

In addition, they acknowledged that in-house teamwork and collaboration with others are keys to the success in the Japanese and global markets.

The seminar, organized by the American Graduate School of International Management, known as Thunderbird, and cosponsored by The Japan Times, was attended by some 100 businesspeople who listened to five guest speakers and round table discussions.

The speakers were: Genichi Tamatsuka, president and CEO of Fast Retailing Co., operator of the Uniqlo clothing chain; Hiroshi Hamada, vice president of the Japanese subsidiary of Dell Computer Corp.; John Macfarlane, chief country officer of Deutsche Bank Group Japan; Gerald Lema, chairman of the Japanese operation of Abbott Laboratories; and Ken Torok, Asia-Pacific president for United Parcel Service.

All five are alumni of the graduate school, based in Texas.

Takeshi Isayama, vice chairman of Nissan Motor Co., delivered the keynote and elaborated on Nissan’s recovery under the strong leadership of Carlos Ghosn.

The seminar, titled “Leadership in a Global Economy,” was one of a series of global business programs produced by the school for Thunderbird alumni, senior business executives and corporate partners from industry.

According to Thunderbird President Roy Herberger, the school’s executive education programs have been ranked 10th best in the world and sixth best in the United States by the Financial Times.

More than 6,000 managers and executives participate each year in the executive programs, either on the Thunderbird campus or at locations in other parts of the world.

For the spring term for 2003, 82 Japanese students were enrolled at Thunderbird, a little more than 8 percent of its total students. Of the Japanese, 72 are men and 10 women, he said.

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