Special Series: Interview with Global Persons




Tomoko Ichikawa, Australian Embassy

Hakumon Herald starts a special “Global Persons” series from this month’s issue to feature a dozen of Japanese people who play an active role abroad or at international organizations. The series is aimed to help student readers make new discoveries by presenting insightful views and messages only those people can send out from their actual experiences in the global community. It begins with Ms Tomoko Ichikawa, (a graduate of Cross-Cultural Studies, the Faculty of Policy Studies of Chuo University) who works as a Senior Business Development Officer at the Australian Embassy in Japan. In her interview, she talks about her experiences in studying abroad and a usually unknown working environment at her workplace.


Charmed by Australia



  -What has motivated you to work at the Australian Embassy in Japan?

  Ichikawa: I was sent to Australia as an exchange student while I was at Chuo University. That served as a catalyst for my decision. I became so much enthralled by Australia while studying there for one year that I thought I should find a job that will allow me to communicate the country’s attractiveness to as many people as I can. I was dreaming of an ideal workplace in Japan where I can introduce the country’s good points to more Japanese people. The Australian Embassy was what came to my mind first of all at the time.


 市川 学部生時代にオーストラリアに交換留学生として派遣されたことが、大使館で働こうと決意したきっかけです。留学生活を通してオーストラリアのとりこになり、将来はこの国の魅力をより多くの人々に伝える仕事に就きたいと思うようになりました。日本でオーストラリアの良さを広める、そんな理想の職場を考えながら真っ先に思いついたのが大使館だったのです。


  -You must have needed to make a lot of preparation. How did you find your job?

  Ichikawa: Unlike ordinary business firms, the embassy doesn’t regularly recruit people. Only when it has a vacant position, it hires a person to fill it. We Japanese are locally hired and not supposed to engage in diplomacy. However, being a diplomatic establishment of a country, the embassy requires you to be fluent in English and have good work experiences in a professional field you’re supposed to get engaged.


 市川 大使館というのは、一般的企業とは違って定期的に人を採用することはしていません。特定のポストに空きができた場合のみ、それを補う形で職員を募集します。私たちはあくまで現地スタッフということで、外交に直接携わるわけではありませんが、大使館と言う一国の在外公館ということだけあって、高度な英語力や関連する専門分野での実務経験が求められます。


  -Do they require you to have any special qualifications?

  Ichikawa: You are not required to have any such qualifications to work at an embassy. But you will have few chances unless you have some work experiences in a specific field. As a matter of fact, I had to sit for an exam twice before getting my job at the Australian Embassy. I failed in my first attempt because I lacked working experiences. It was just after I finished my postgraduate course. But I couldn’t give up on my dream and remained keen to work there. So, I tentatively joined a private company to get some work experiences. Fortunately, the embassy had a vacancy the following year and I promptly applied for that position. I strongly appealed I had enough experience in marketing and educational fields and that perhaps helped me get a job offer.


市川 大使館で働くための資格というものはありませんが、特定の分野での実務経験がなければ入館は難しいです。実は私、オーストラリア大使館で働くため、2度選考試験を受けました。大学院卒業後すぐに応募したときは、「実務経験が足りない」との理由で選考に落ちました。しかし、どうしても大使館で働きたかったので、いったん一般企業に就職し、実務経験を積みました。その翌年、運良く希望するポストが空いたので、すかさず応募し、この1年の経験を猛アピールし、なんとか内定をつかみ取ることができました。

Working ideal job



  -What specifically do you do as a Senior Business Development Manager?

  Ichikawa: I am primarily in charge of publicizing chances of studying in Australia to educational institutions and students in Japan, using my knowledge of public relations I learned at my postgraduate school. I tell people about my study abroad that has changed me a great deal and about Australia which I love so much. That is exactly what I looked forward to for a long time. As one of the local staff, I also translate papers and interpret at conferences to help Australian diplomats perform their duties without much difficulty.


  市川 大学院で学んだパブリックリレーションズ(PR)の知識をベースに、日本国内の教育機関や学生に向けた、オーストラリア留学の広報活動などを担当しています。自分を大きく変えてくれた留学の良さ、そして大好きなオーストラリアを人に伝えるといった、私にとっては夢にまで見た仕事です。また、現地スタッフとして、オーストラリアの外交官が円滑に職務を遂行できるよう書類の翻訳や会議の通訳等のサポートをしています。

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