• Kyodo

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The nation’s hotel operators and real estate firms are ramping up their hiring of foreign workers to capitalize on booming in-bound tourism and increasing property investment from wealthy overseas buyers.

Liang I-ting, a Taiwanese clerk, greets guests in Chinese, Japanese and English at an Apa Group hotel near JR Nippori Station, which is close to Ueno, one of Tokyo’s more popular tourist destinations.

After studying Japanese at a Taiwanese university, the 36-year-old became a flight attendant for a local airline. Liang started working at the hotel last December.

“Working for Japan’s travel industry is very demanding in terms of customer service,” she said. “But my experience at the airline helped me get through it.

“I like my job and wages are good. It was the right decision that I came to Japan.”

Apa Group has been riding the boom despite China’s tourism administration calling for a boycott of its hotels in January over historical revisionist views published by Apa Chief Executive Toshio Motoya, including denial of the 1937 Nanking Massacre.

TKP Corp., a Tokyo-based meeting room rental company, operates Liang’s hotel under a franchising contract with the Apa Group. It has been recruiting several Chinese and Taiwanese nationals every year in response to increasing foreign tourists to Japan. Their pay is the same as that for Japanese employees.

Hotels operated by TKP have received large-lot group-tour orders from people in other Asian countries thanks to the personal connections of foreign employees working there. Some of them hail from wealthy families, according to a TKP official in charge of personnel affairs.

Syla Co., a Tokyo-based real estate company that mainly sells condominiums for investment, has intentionally sought to hire individuals from Taiwan, China or South Korea over the past three years. They are tasked with selling condominiums to Taiwanese, Chinese and South Korean investors.

“Conditions foreign clients demand in Japanese condominiums are different from those sought by Japanese clients,” Syla President Yoshiyuki Yuto said. “Foreign employees, with different cultural backgrounds, should have an advantage in selling properties to potential clients from their countries.”

Expecting its condo sales to Asian customers to increase in the future, the company hopes foreign employees will play a greater role in its marketing operations.

To help foreign people take jobs in Japan, staffing agency Neo Career Co. launched a manpower business last October targeting people from other Asian countries.

The Tokyo-based company sponsors job seminars and interviews overseas on behalf of potential employers in Japan. If an applicant’s employment is decided, Neo Career assists with the visa procedures.

As of April, Neo Career had introduced about 500 workers, mostly in their 20s to 30s, to some 50 Japanese companies, including retail chains and travel-related companies.

“In the future, we plan to introduce Vietnamese and Indian engineers to Japanese venture firms and midsize companies that are facing manpower shortages,” a Neo Career official said.

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