I’m the only Japanese person in the company. The vice president director is French, while the other 20 employees are all Indonesian. Since the world of business is inherently unpredictable, good communication is a crucial part of being a good manager. I try to create an open and friendly atmosphere where people feel free to talk to me about any problems they may have.

One of the most rewarding parts of my job is when an employee expresses appreciation for the advice I’ve given them after we’ve had a one-on-one talk. I’m not a native English speaker and nor are they, so frank communication can sometimes be a little difficult. Still, if you put in the time, you can make a heart-to-heart connection. It’s definitely worth it.

My job is to make sure that everyone else does their job precisely and effectively. This triggers a virtuous circle, where the company gets better and better because every single individual is doing their job right.

Because the average age in Indonesia is low, at around 30 years old, you feel this huge sense of potential there. I want to play my part in helping the country grow in the right direction and I hope that Japan will play an even bigger role in Indonesia’s economic growth in the future. Japanese businesses have a considerable presence in Indonesia and make a clear economic contribution. There are also Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers contributing at a personal level all around the country. At Paiton Energy, we participate in a scholarship program for sending less well-off youngsters to school. That sort of social contribution is something we would like to do more of.

Paiton, where the power plants are located, is a village in East Java, four hours by car from Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city. The power plants tend to employ people who have made a conscious decision to stay near their homes in the country rather than migrate to the big city. We have internship programs with local universities and try to hire their best students.

I had been posted in developing countries before, but unlike some of them, Indonesia has the great merit of politically stability. President Joko Widodo is planning to expand the country’s power generation capacity by 35 gigawatts over the next five years, and I hope that Mitsui can contribute to that expansion. Paiton Energy is a major electricity supplier with a reputation for delivering a high-quality service on time and Mitsui has actually been in Indonesia since 1907, so we have a solid base to build on.

I certainly see electricity demand growing in Indonesia. GDP is currently around $3,500 per person. As that number increases, electricity consumption will skyrocket. Indonesia is around 85% electrified, but even so there are still quite a few places without electricity. I hope that, through providing a stable electricity supply in conjunction with our partners in government and the local power generation industry, we can contribute to Indonesia’s economic growth and people’s quality of life.

Interviewed September 2015

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