Mainichi: Lawson hiring more NJ, offering Vietnamese scholarships


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Hi Blog.  On the heels of yesterday’s post, depicting Japan’s latest wheeze to cover up it’s failed Nikkei import labor policy, here’s a bit of good news:  Somebody trying to do their bit to help keep unemployed NJs’ heads above water.  Lawson convenience stores.

I smiled until I saw how small the numbers being employed full time were, despite the “quadrupling” claimed in the first paragraph.  But every little bit helps.  So does Lawson’s offer for scholarships for Vietnamese exchange students (see Japanese below).  

Many times when I go into convenience stores in the Tokyo area, I’m surprised how many Chinese staff I see.  Anyway, patronize Lawson if they’re trying to do good by the stricken NJ community.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo


Lawson boosts number of foreign fulltime employees

(Mainichi Japan) April 2, 2009, courtesy of Jeff K.

Japanese convenience store chain Lawson almost quadrupled the number of fulltime foreign employees it hired this spring as it searches for a new growth path amid stagnant consumption and fierce competition in the industry.

“Let’s create innovative ideas by fusing diverse views and different cultures,” said Takeshi Niinami, the president of Lawson, Inc. The company started hiring foreigners as regular employees last spring.

Compared to last year’s 10 new foreign employees, the convenience store giant hired 39 new workers, who studied in Japan, among a total of 122 regular employees this spring, made up of 28 Chinese, four South Koreans, three Taiwanese, two Vietnamese and one each from Indonesia and Bangladesh.

According to the company, like their Japanese counterparts, the foreign employees will work at directly-managed stores across Japan for about three years.




毎日新聞 2009年4月1日








平成21年3月25日 毎日オンライン

 ローソン(東京品川区:代表取締役社長CEO 新浪剛史)は、2009年4月より、日本に留学を希望するベトナムの学生のための奨学金制度を設立し、人材育成に民間レベルで貢献いたします。















 特待生(20才以下):年間120万円 住宅補助月3万円

 一般生(25才以下):年間30万円 住宅補助なし



 4月ベトナム国内にて説明会 → 5月・7月に選考 → 合否通知


 10月ベトナム国内にて説明会 → 11月・12月に選考 → 合否発表





※発表日 2009年3月24日

以 上

2009年3月25日 ends

10 comments on “Mainichi: Lawson hiring more NJ, offering Vietnamese scholarships

  • Will find a link (and post it) but this is because of their (Lawsons) expansion plans into China… sort of a management (read Japanese ethic) training program…

  • Kyodo News:

    Convenience store chain Lawson hiring more foreign employees
    Tuesday 24th March, 06:45 AM JST

    TOKYO —
    Thirty-nine foreign nationals will join Lawson Inc, Japan’s second-largest convenience store chain operator, in April, accounting for about 30% of its 122 newly hired employees, up from about 10 percent the year before, company officials said Monday. The foreign employees, mostly Chinese, will be on a career track to take charge of managing Lawson’s increasing outlets in China and other foreign countries and its domestic outlets with a growing number of foreign part-time workers, the officials said.

    Lawson has decided to expand recruitment of foreign employees and plans to maintain the 30% level in the future because its hiring in 2008 of foreign students with proficient Japanese-language and other skills helped to encourage Japanese graduates who joined the company at the same time, they said. The new foreign employees joining Lawson in April are 30 Chinese, four South Koreans, two Vietnamese and one each from Taiwan, Indonesia and Bangladesh.

  • are they only hireing in the tokyo area? Why not osaka? osaka has many NJ students from china. so hopefully familymart and 7/11 and the others will pick up the slack and follow suit…

  • I’m sorry to be always the pessimist, but have you seen any Non-Asian (except the Bagladeshi)on the list?I’ve seen many Chinese, Koreans, Vietnamese at Lawson’s stores, but I’ve never seen white person, for example, or black.Hiring Gainjin is just fine, but does this apply to all gaijin?

  • GiantPanda says:

    There is a lovely Nepalese guy that works at my local 99 store (now a Lawson subsidiary), and he is pretty dark skinned – they seem to hire a lot of Chinese as well. I have to admit though, I’ve never seen a white person working at a combini. Has anyone ever applied? I always though that it was because it was easier to earn JPY 2,500 an hour teaching English with a white face than earning JPY 800 per hour slinging oden in the combini….

  • GiantPanda

    I am white and I have worked at several conbini`s. I have also worked for Haken (Izakaya, enkai, parties), Karaoke, and at a Shuumaiya-san in China town. I have never worked teaching english so YES I am poor. No, I will never-ever teach english in my life here.

    The conbini I worked at were Heart In Conbini at Takarazuka and Family Mart in Shin Yokohama. They do hire white people but If a Chinese person and a White person with about the same Japanese level apply, they will take the Chinese person. That is however only my personal speculation because Chinese people are easier to control and if you (Or more specifically, the customers) treat them badly it`s not wrong because Chinese are beneath Japanese.

    Conbini is the easiest job in the world and because customers leave right away racism is very brief even if it occurs.

    The information on how to actually assimilate in Japan is just not available to westerners. Even at my university all the 外国人留学生のための就職活動説明会 were ALL geared towards only Asians. They have all sorts of great advice, if you are ASIAN of course.

    White people need to find out how the system works for themselves because no matter what people say, the rules ARE somewhat different for us. Beleive it or not, there *are* HR people who will look at you like you are an alien if you have a white face and speak Japanese with native fluency and have all the gestures of a Japanese person and know Japanese culture. There are some companies who ARE looking for a person who knows Japanese very well and is willing to be a slave like other Japanese salaryman. There are also those who would rather have what people call the `typical` foreigner because they are easier to control.

    I am hoping though that the reason I failed to enter almost 20 companies was because of the recession and of the fact that I am 文系 and not 理系 even though I can speak English and Japanese at pretty much the same level.

    Debito are you aware of the `2-year system` that most companies have geared towards these foreign students who spent their live savings and youth in Japanese universities?

    On of my Korean friends was hired at UniQlo under the SAME 就職活動 process as Japanese students yet was told that if she is not working to be store manager within 2 years there is a chance her visa will not be sponsered again after that time.

    My Chinese friend failed to enter almost 80 companies and finally got an offer from Secom. She spent a whole year looking for a Job in Japan (and spent 4 years in Japanese university) only to be told she will be trained for a month here and be shipped off to their one of their branch offices in China even though she specifically said she wanted to work in Japan.

    Mind you they do still get the benefits Japanese do because they are technically 正社員 (My korean friend just moved into her company apartment, fully payed by Uniqlo so I assume that legally they are 正社員) but it still stinks of Employers manipulating the system because without VISA renewal they cannot even look for a new job.

    Meanwhile the Japanese students, many of whom never even opened a book intbetween all the go-kon`s and nomikai`s get full lifetime benefits and pretty much just sit back and wait for the promotion opportunities to come aknockin on their door…

    Man I would kill to be in the position Japanese students are in…

  • Alexander says:

    Alex –

    It’s tough to get a job in Japan – that’s a reality. But you are making out to be a lot worse than it is. I can only conclude that you feel that your personal experience is the norm for foreign graduates of Japanese universities. I feel for you – I have read about your problems in so many threads on this site – but I suggest you start looking for other causes of your lack of success.

    I am a Canadian who studied at and graduated from a reputable Japanese university and now work as a seishain for a multinational Japanese company. I have other friends who are black and white and Asian in my year who have done the same thing. We all did “shushoku katsudou” along with the other Japanese students and experienced all the hardships of it, just as the Japanese do.

    Obviously some do not enjoy working at Japanese companies. And here is the paradox in what you are saying. On one hand you speak about not wanting to be like Japanese salarymen “working like slaves”, but on the other hand you want to be treated equally with Japanese people. Let me tell you, working at a traditional Japanese company is not a piece of cake. You are not “sitting back” and enjoying life. After training, *everyone* is “shipped off”. Your friend might have gone to China but others might have gone to Aomori or Kumamoto or Niigata. Honestly, if you work for a big company don’t expect to be able to stay in Tokyo or Osaka unless you are lucky or can prove you really work best there. These companies span the globe and need people everywhere.

    My point is, you are being unrealistic. Sure there will be companies that will look at you strangely and not hire you. But with experience in recruiting at my company, I can tell you that is not necessarily the norm. Foreign grads of Japanese schools are usually given the benefit of the doubt. But if a white guy comes and hopes to be hired along with the Japanese students and then get a special deal about working conditions and benefits because he is not Japanese, we are not going to hire him.

    Things like what university you go to and your language skills are also obviously very important. In your case, on this site you write in informal language in the kansai dialect. I am not sure how you speak with prospective employers, but hopefully it is in proper formal, standard Japanese. More than anything, let me remind you this is a horrible economy and Japanese students are also having a horrible time.

    Hang in there, and before you decide being white is the problem, look at articles like this and realize that jobs are out there, but it is just a matter of presenting yourself well to employers.

    Also a note to other readers, this article is about Lawson hiring *seishain* for the front office or area managers. Most likely the aim is for further expansion into other countries in Asia (where Family Mart and 7-Eleven are far ahead of Lawson). The hiring of foreigners for baito at convenience stores is much more common and pretty much the norm in Tokyo these days.

  • I can speak formal and standard Japanese just fine (although I don`t lose the Kansai accent) as I am a student here. I don`t want to be treated any different than Japanese and I don`t have the impression that working in a Japanese company is a peice of cake. I know it is difficult but with those difficulties come also many plus aspects. For Instance it would be difficult to argue that job security in an 大手 in Japan is less than that of say our home country Canada. (Well maybe not right now due to the recession.)

    I`m not saying white is the problem. In my certain case even though I am white I never conciously consider myself different than anyone here (well again, I would say I don`t consider myself different from any typical Kansai-jin)and that doesn`t always (of course no one says you can be liked by everyone) get good reactions, even If I speak perfectly formal Japanese. A lot of people give me the 「こいつはなんやねん」look. Even 人事 people.

    Not that it matters now as I am moving back to Osaka soon, but Kansai-ben or even Kansai-accented standard Japanese is not well received here in the Tokyo area unless I am trying to make people laugh. People here seriously need to realize that what is spoken in Tokyo is ALSO a dialect and NOT standard Japanese. Tokyo people complain about Kansai-jin speaking Kansai-ben in Tokyo yet when they go to Osaka they speak Tokyo-ben and are shocked when people in Osaka look at them like they are foreigners. 矛盾!

    Sorry for the small tangent…

  • Alex

    Why would you never-ever teach English in Japan. Is that too below your standards or is that too common-place for you? Considering your Japanese skill you could probably teach English at a school with a stable contract and decent salary(if you applied yourself to learning and studying productive and effective teaching methods). Also, just because you spent a lot of time at Japanese Universities and that you are bilingual doesn’t give you a free-ride into the job market, why don’t you try to sell yourself instead of relying on your credentials.

  • Debito,

    About the “small numbers” comment – If I read the article correctly, it is 39 NJ full time employees out of 122 TOTAL new employees.

    In other words, one fourth of all new hires this year were foreigners – I feel that this number is quite significant.

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