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Business

India becoming training ground for Japan's future execs

 MUMBAI -- An amateur football team of Japanese businesspeople, mainly those in their 20s and 30s, in Mumbai has recently seen a steep increase in its membership to around 50.

     Given the Japanese population of around 700 in the coastal city in western India, the membership is rather large. Though Japan was eliminated in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, members of the team have been closely watching the competition.

     The team's membership has grown dramatically due to an increase in young Japanese businesspeople stationed in Mumbai. "I feel as if I'm in a different world. Young people have increased over the past year or two," said a Japanese businessman stationed in India for many years.

     The number of young businesspeople from Japan has increased because Japanese companies use India as a venue for nurturing manpower who can work globally.

     Trading houses, financial institutions and other companies have been dispatching young workers, many with less than five years of employment, to India for training. The trainees are exposed to living and business environments very different from those in Japan and experience them as a typical example of life in emerging economies.

     "I was shocked by the strong assertiveness of Indian people," said an employee in his 20s of NTT Communications, one of Japanese companies that aggressively dispatch young workers overseas, in reference to his one-year stay in India. "I experienced lots of unexpected situations and recognized that I had to be tough."

     Experiences of Japanese companies in India testify that manpower is the name of the game for them. A company cannot grow in India or any other overseas market unless it has executives who are familiar with local situations as well as Japan's position in the world.

     Needless to say, young employees cannot take the helm at their companies anytime soon, and globally-minded executives cannot be produced overnight.

     Companies putting emphasis on India are starting to assign senior officials to the country. Panasonic and Honda Motor are beginning to station even executives and corporate officers in India. Young trainees may return to India as executives in the future.

     Manpower training programs reveal whether companies are earnest about boosting earnings in overseas markets, which is not limited to India.

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