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Campus Now

Spring Verdure Issue (May)

Career compass Students and career choices

Seeking professionals who create happiness for each ward resident

Hiromi Igari
Manager of Human Relations Strategy, Arakawa Ward Management Department

Here we ask people in charge of business recruitment about the latest job-searching information, and what they usually keep in mind when involved in recruiting activities. This time, we held a discussion with Hiromi Igari of the Tokyo Arakawa Ward Office.

Ward administration is a system for bringing happiness to ward residents

Upon hearing the phrase "ward office," many people may imagine the stereotypical image of municipal administrative work. However, this stereotype does not apply to the Arakawa Ward Office. Based on the government employee principles of accuracy, speed and fairness, we define ward residents as customers and work our hardest in order to provide optimal services to each customer. This change in our consciousness began from around 2002 and was implemented in earnest when Taichiro Nishikawa, the current Ward Director, took office in 2004.

Are you aware that the small Asian country of Bhutan uses the index GNH (Gross National Happiness) instead of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) as the basis for implementing political policy? This philosophy is based on pursuing spiritual richness and happiness in addition to economic wealth. Arakawa Ward uses the same policy when administering our ward, and we have formulated an index known as GAH (Gross Arakawa Happiness). The ward office is a system for realizing the happiness of ward residents. Incidentally, the word for "happiness" in Bhutanese is "gah"-a very wonderful coincidence!

Refining sensitivity for responding to the expectations of ward residents

Although corporations target a specific group of customers, a ward office must provide unconditional service to all customers (residents) within the ward. Furthermore, even if government workers produce outstanding results, there is little change in their compensation and benefits. Therefore, individuals who prioritize straightforward evaluation of their work may be more suited for employment at private corporations. Moreover, there are different roles even within the same category of government worker. For example, broad municipality of city government creates systems which focus on the concept of city resident. In contrast, national government creates laws which consider of the even more abstract concepts of citizens and national interests. The appeal of working at a ward office is that your work directly affects and brings happiness to ward residents. At park in our ward, there are elderly people dozing in the sun and children having fun playing. Individuals who feel satisfaction in contributing to the happiness of each such ward resident will make good government employees in the fundamental municipalities of wards and cities.

Based on this presumption, the most important ability for ward employees is the sensitivity to recognize the various expectations of ward residents who possess a wide range of values. It is impossible to conduct meaningful work without uncovering the true necessities which are not written in laws or rules. Furthermore, upon recognizing expectations, ward employees must then formulate and enact responses. This process requires broad knowledge, perceptivity, planning ability, implementation ability and management ability. It is also necessary to mobilize the strength of entire organizations. Therefore, in order to training to develop abilities used in ward administration, the Arakawa Ward Office has established a business college (ABC) for ward employees. The college offers lectures by intellectuals and seminar-style training. The aim of such courses is to provide practical skills for ward administration by broadening the knowledge and perspective of ward employees while also refining sensitivity. Similar to corporations, the foundation of a ward office is people. I am proud to say that Arakawa Ward has the most enhanced training system in all of the 23 special wards of Tokyo.

A variety of experience leads to understanding of human emotions

Although there are no great changes in benefits based on occupation, employees with favorable performance records receive appropriate recognition. A system known as MBA (Most Brilliant Action) awards employees who have conducted brilliant activities. Awards include the badges presented to show gratitude from ward residents. Actual badges are shown in the picture above. From left, the red badge indicates a total of 5 awards received, silver indicates 10 awards, gold indicates 15 awards, and the round badge indicates 1 award.

I feel that students who wish to gain employment at a ward office or other municipal government agencies should accumulate as many experiences as possible while in university. In addition to studying at university, I would like you to experience part-time, volunteer activities and even romantic relationships. Also, it's fine to make a lot of mistakes. The reason why such experience is so valuable is that the residents whom we serve at the ward office are leading the same kind of normal lifestyles. They have to deal with stress at work and sadness in relationships. The ability to sense such emotions is the key to responding to the thoughts of ward residents. There is no such thing as a wasted experience during your university life. Many Waseda students are active and are able to express their own individuality. I hope that students will take on many challenges and will spend a fulfilling time studying at university.

From the Career Center
This spring, 68 students became employees of the 23 special wards of Tokyo

Through cooperation from Arakawa Ward, the Career Center has held lectures by Ward Director Taichiro Nishikawa (a Waseda alumnus) and implemented internship programs. Through such events, we have conveyed the appeal of work in municipal government to students. Perhaps as a result, this spring 68 Waseda students became employees of the 23 special wards of Tokyo. Students receiving job offers in municipal government made the following enthusiastic statements: "I want to contribute to the public good." "I want to provide heartfelt services to citizens."

Hiromi Igari
Manager of Human Relations Strategy, Arakawa Ward Management Department

Born in 1957. Graduated from the Sophia University Faculty of Law in 1979. After working at The Fuji Bank, Ltd. for 4 years, obtained employment in Arakawa Ward in 1983. Held positions in the Planning Division, Finance Division, Education Division and General Affairs Division before assuming her current position. Has also served as a Part-Time Instructor at Seigakuin University since 2009.

Arakawa Ward Office
Located in the northeast section of the 23 special wards of Tokyo, Arakawa Ward is home to about 200 thousand residents (approximately 95 thousand households). Approximately 1,500 (full-time) Arakawa Ward employees serve as a support service for the Ward Director who executes ward administration. Employees conduct a variety of administrative business and work to provide services to ward residents.