These universities aim to use their Tokyo offices as bases to support students’ job hunting in the metropolitan area and industrial-government-academic cooperation. At the same time, as the nation’s birthrate has fallen and research projects are becoming more globalized, universities are trying to widely convey their strong points and increase their competitiveness.
Fukuoka-based Seinan Gakuin University has such an office in a building near JR Tokyo Station. An official of the university recently advised a student dressed for a job interview that she should not feel nervous even though she would be competing with students from famous universities.
The student, 21-year-old senior Marina Uto, came to Tokyo on an overnight bus, which took 17 hours from Fukuoka. Enrolled in the university’s law department, she will have interviews with information technology and advertising companies while staying at a low-cost lodging facility that costs ¥34,000 per month.
“The Tokyo office is very helpful, because job hunting in Tokyo requires lots of physical and mental energy, and money,” Uto said.
The university opened its Tokyo office in January last year. Many students and faculty members had asked the school to set up the office. So far this year, about 300 people have used the office—an increase of about 10 percent on a year-on-year basis.
In the office, students can check their baggage and a change of clothes and get copies of their academic transcripts. The office has not only job information magazines and PCs for student use, but also notebooks in which students can write about Tokyo’s transportation system and suggest reasonable inns. Students can also ask graduates who have found jobs in the Tokyo metropolitan area for advice by e-mail and phone.
About 30 percent of new graduates from Seinan Gakuin University obtain jobs in the metropolitan area.
“The office is effectively utilized as a base for job searching,” said Naofumi Yoshida, the director of the office.
The same building has 12 offices belonging to national and private universities. Kyoto-based Ritsumeikan University opened an office in Tokyo in 1999 and then transferred the office to the building in 2007, aiming to strengthen support for job searching and also utilize the office as a base for education and studies. Its floor area also increased to about 850 square meters—about four times as large as the previous office.
Usually from February through June, about 1,000 students per month who are searching for jobs use the office. Five staff members help advise students at the Tokyo campus. The campus also has classrooms and provides lectures on topics such as languages, economics and medical care for the general public, including working people.
“The areas around Tokyo Station are the center of businesses,” said Tomoyuki Sato, an official of the campus. “Lectures for working people serve to promote the university as well.” The Tokyo campus is also used for briefings on entrance exams and a site for tests, as well as a meeting place for graduates.
Osaka University, based in Suita, Osaka Prefecture, opened a Tokyo office to disseminate research results from a building in the Kasumigaseki district, where many government ministries and agencies are located. The university first set up the office in Tokyo in 2004, and then opened the current one in late March this year to take advantage of more space and equipment.
While the university uses the office to support students’ job searching, it also uses it as a base for lectures and meetings in the metropolitan area in an attempt to cooperate with companies and government ministries and agencies. The office has multipurpose rooms, and the university is considering a video lecture system that would make it possible for citizens in the Tokyo office to watch lectures conducted in Osaka.
“We will utilize our research results for industrial-government-academia cooperation in order to become one of the world’s top 10 universities,” President Toshio Hirano said. “We hope the office will serve as a place of communication by actively transmitting information on reforms for globalization.” (the Japan News)