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Mizuho India Japan Study Centre at IIMB celebrates Foundation Day on Sep 14; announces projects for SMEs & students

17 SEPTEMBER, 2021: Mizuho India Japan Study Centre (MIJSC), a Centre of Excellence at IIM Bangalore, successfully celebrated it Foundation Day event on 14th September 2021, thereby marking the Centre’s entry to the fifth year of its operations. The event was conducted online in the presence of distinguished chief guests such as Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission Toshihide Ando, Japanese Embassy in India; and Ambassador Sanjay Kumar Verma, Indian Embassy in Japan; Koji Fujiwara, President and CEO of Mizuho Bank; Akiko Sugita, Consul General of Japan, Bengaluru; Padma Bhushan Awardee Jamshed N. Godrej, CII-VLFM, Chairman and Managing Director of Godrej & Boyce; C.S. Patel, Ex-CEO of Anand Automotive Ltd and VLCI Chief Mentor, and other distinguished guests from IIM Bangalore. The programme was attended by a large number of dignitaries from the economic, technological, political, industrial, and banking sectors from within the country and overseas. 

The theme of the MIJSC Foundation Day was ‘Connect. Explore. Transform’ and the event was divided three sessions, with each session addressing the theme in detail. The first session, ‘CONNECT’ involved reaching out to the Centre’s current and future stakeholders and showcasing through milestones video presentation its growth and successes through various collaborative activities, over the years, followed by speeches from dignitaries.  In the second session, ‘EXPLORE’ – the main highlight was the showcasing of all the learnings captured through the research-funded projects and lecture series delivered by industry experts in the form of publications; followed by a message from Consulate General of Japan, Bengaluru.  In the concluding session, ‘TRANSFORM’ – the Centre introduced through video presentations, two major game changing projects that could potentially change the SME landscape and engineering education paradigm in India and Japan. 

Professor Krishna Sundar, Chairman of MIJSC, delivered the welcome address and Professor Rishikesha T. Krishnan, Director of IIMB, introduced all the dignitaries on the platform and set the tone for the session.

Connecting with stakeholders

MIJSC (earlier known as India Japan Study Centre) was founded with the aim to become a leading research and networking hub to pursue international, interdisciplinary, and comprehensive research on mutual areas of interest between India and Japan, and to provide students, researchers, business managers and policy makers with a deeper understanding of Japanese and Indian businesses. With the compelling business and national interests propelling the fast-evolving India-Japan business environment, MIJSC has successfully developed meaningful connections with different facets of society, be it the Government connect, media connect, industry and corporate connect and most importantly the academic connect. The Centre has excellent partner relations with Mizuho Bank, which is among the top 20 banks in the world, and among top three banks in Japan, with total assets of approximately $1.9 trillion. MIJSC is also becoming a forerunner in creating unique immersion focused programs for the students, researchers, executives, and entrepreneurs, to explore transnational industries and culture through academic, executive, and other outreach programmes. MIJSC also has connect with higher education partners in Japan who share our ambitions, values and aspirations. The Centre’s vision of collaboration helps in providing mutual support to enhance opportunities for students, researchers and/or business executives. 

“The idea was to focus on one particular country, especially Japan, as it is the source of many innovative and useful management practices for the rest of the world. I am happy and thankful that Mizuho Bank, one of the largest banks in Japan and the world, has become an important supporter for the centre and hope that they will continue to provide ongoing advice and support for the various activities of the centre,” said Professor Rishikesha Krishnan.

Pointing out that the main focus of any centre of excellence is research, and that IIMB is looking forward to MIJSC undertaking new and important research projects with focus on India and Japan, Professor Krishnan said: “I hope that MIJSC’s partnerships with Japanese universities will go beyond student exchange programs, to generally undertake collaborative research resulting in very interesting findings on India and Japan. The last 18 months have been challenging for all of us, but I am quite happy to see MIJSC is adapting to these changes and creating a very innovative set of webinars with a diverse range of speakers and topics that offer glimpses into the uniqueness of Japan. I hope that MIJSC, going forward, will continue to build on the foundation it has set and will produce some path breaking research and innovations.”

 “When Mizuho heard about the establishment of IJSC in 2017, we offered our support. With the vision of bringing academia and business of both India and Japan closer, IIMB and Mizuho bank came together. We aim to contribute to sustainable development and growth prospects of both large corporates as well as start-up ventures. I am very glad and excited to hear about the number of new initiatives taken up by MIJSC to promote and strengthen the Indo-Japan relations. I believe a collaboration between both nations can drive change and lead the world in a number of fields,” said Koji Fujiwara, President and CEO of Mizuho Bank.

“A major foundation of India-Japan relationship is people to people. Apparently, an increasing number of Indian people are interested in studying and looking for seeking employment in Japanese companies here. However, the number of Indians studying in Japan is still about 2000 and the number of Japanese students studying here is only about 70. There still is much room for improvement in light of our friendly relations. I am truly grateful that the activities of MIJSC over the past four years have greatly contributed to the exchange of people and knowledge between Japan and India. Even though traveling is currently difficult under the pandemic, we are still able to interact online as we are doing in today’s event. However, we should also prepare ourselves to reaccelerate direct interactions of people when the situation improves,” said Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission Toshihide Ando, Japanese Embassy in India.

“In terms of technology, finance, and management, India and Japan are not competitors, but they complement each other. Like India, Japan is also largely a country of small and medium enterprises, therefore, if you wanted deeper integration of the two business ecosystems, small and medium enterprises will have to be brought on board. Today's students are tomorrow's entrepreneurs and managers, and if they are given the right picture of both advantages and hurdles, they would be able to make the business on both sides proud of their existence and would take these businesses to the next, higher logical level of wealth and intellectual property creation,” said Ambassador Sanjay Kumar Verma, Indian Embassy in Japan.

Research projects 

MIJSC aims to improve the quality of institutional investigation in India and Japan, and to build a critical mass of scholars whose work will have a positive and profound impact on the Indian and the Japanese corporate sectors. The Centre supports research projects by faculty members of IIMB on a broad range of research endeavours that are relevant to India and Japan. MIJSC has also been hosting national and international experts from various fields of study such as business, technology, and culture and society through webinars. The video presentation showcased in this session captured the learnings from both research projects and expert talks. 

At the event, two products developed by MIJSC, a coffee table book and a monograph titled ‘Exploring India Japan Relationship Through Research and Webinars’ were launched. With these publications, MIJSC has attempted to integrate the learnings and insights derived from the research projects and the seminar/webinar under four key chapters of Business, Technology, Culture and Sustainability.

“The Centre started its journey by focusing on funded research programs on projects that are linked with India-Japan relationships. I am glad to see that six projects have been completed and many more projects are in the pipeline. The enthusiastic participation and increasing interest of the faculty in this program is very encouraging. I am very happy to see that the Centre is bringing out two versions of a book titled ‘India & Japan – A Relationship Explored Through Research & Webinars’ which compiles the learnings of the Research projects and Webinar series. There are many exciting projects lined up in the coming years. The support given to the Centre by Mizuho Bank is central to its success and I am sure that the partnership that we are building with Mizuho will ensure a long-term win-win relationship between our two organizations. We are also looking for partnerships with many other corporates, both Japanese and Indian, to move our programs at an even faster pace in the future,” said Professor Chetan Subramanian, Dean Faculty, IIM Bangalore.

“I would like to commend the great efforts of the faculty members at MIJSC in building a solid foundation for cultivating entrepreneurship of the students and developing various collaborative projects with Mizuho Bank, Toshiba and other supporting organizations of India and Japan. It is a great honour to be able to explore Japanese aspects for those students who aspire to bridge the two countries through business and beyond,” said Akiko Sugita, Consul General of Japan in Bangalore.

Supporting new ventures

In the concluding session, the Centre introduced two projects – Business Excellence and Transformation Index (B.E.T. Index) and Visionary Learning Community of India (VLCI). 

The ability of small and medium enterprises to become part of the global networks is also a function of their technological competencies. SMEs need to focus on three key skills viz. their ability to satisfy their customers, their ability to control the cost and their ability to adapt to the technology. They need to have a right strategic perspective as well as focus on people management. They also need to adhere to sustainable goals linked with the environment and the society. In this context, estimating where each individual small and medium enterprise stands on these various dimensions is a challenge and this information is key for the SMEs to get into a partnership relationship, thereby becoming a part of global supply networks. There is a need to evaluate the business maturity of SMEs on these various dimensions. With that in mind, the business evaluation and transformation index research project has been conceptualized. This is a necessity when Japanese SMEs are also looking at collaborating, partnering and coming out with joint ventures with their counterparts in India. There is a need for us to create a platform of matchmaking between and among the SMEs of both countries to join hands based on the complementarities as well as alignment. The right kind of resources would bring in this kind of transformation. 

“The focus is on engineering college students of rural and semi-urban backgrounds. We will be training them about Japanese manufacturing, management and quality philosophical insights and helping them do their internships in small and medium enterprises in India and, hopefully, in Japan,” said Professor Krishna Sundar, Chairperson, Mizuho India Japan Study Centre.

“VLCI 3.0, under MIJSC, would include a mixed-mode delivery of the programs, with online programs on the MOOCs platform followed by internship in small communities of SMEs and Colleges,” explained C.S. Patel, Ex-CEO of Anand Automotive Ltd and Chief Mentor VLCI.

“I sincerely hope that, with support from MIJSC and IIMB, VLCI will go to the next level of excellence. I warmly wish the Mizuho India Japan Study Centre success in building a stronger India-Japan relations. I hope that the links of academia and industry would strengthen through the association of the MIJSC with CII,” remarked Padma Bhushan Awardee Jamshed N. Godrej, CII-VLFM, Chairman and Managing Director of Godrej & Boyce.

The Foundation Day of MIJSC concluded with a note of thanks from Saideep Rathnam, COO, MIJSC. 

Link to full video: https://youtu.be/tNHI-LynwKk 

For more details, contact MIJSC at:  india.japan.study.centre@iimb.ac.in