On April 1st, a deck officer named Tomoko Konishi became the first woman in NYK’s 132-year history to be promoted to the rank of captain.
Ms. Konishi joined NYK in 2004 after she graduated from the National Institute of Technology, Toba College in Mie prefecture. Since then, she has worked aboard containerships, pure car and truck carriers, and LNG carriers, among others, as a pioneering female officer. She has been active in a number of fields and has also used her onboard experiences in office work.
In 2004, NYK became the first major Japanese oceangoing company to accept female officers, and since then their numbers have continued to rise. The company currently has 14 working all over the world at sea and on land. NYK will continue with its efforts to encourage diversity in the workforce by promoting workplace environment and human resources.
History of Japanese Officers at NYK
1885 NYK Line founded
1920 Japanese officers total about 1,400 in all positions, i.e., captains, chief engineers, telecommunications chiefs, pursers, etc.
2004 NYK becomes first major Japanese oceangoing company to accept female officers
2006 NYK begins program to allow graduates from non-maritime colleges/universities to begin officer training after joining the company
2017 Woman promoted to rank of captain for the first time in NYK’s 132-year history
On April 3rd, NYK held a welcoming ceremony at its head office in Tokyo for employees joining the company in the 2017 fiscal year. Below is a translation of the address provided by NYK president Tadaaki Naito to the 59 new staff members.
“Today, a total of 59 office workers and seafarers joined as new members of NYK. I sincerely welcome you all on behalf of the company. As you all take this first step in your career, I would like to say a few words to you as a senior of NYK.
This year, NYK will celebrate its 132nd year of business. The company’s long history can be roughly divided into three periods. The first begins in the year of our founding, 1885, after which we rapidly developed with the modernization of Japan, and ends with the devastation of World War II. In the second period, we started from nearly nothing to overcome the chaos that followed the war and achieved a miraculous recovery with the blood and sweat of seniors during Japan’s record economic growth. The third period was marked by a loss of cost competitiveness due to yen appreciation stemming from the Plaza Accord in 1985, followed by the end of the Cold War and trade diversification and globalization amid ongoing structural reforms in the shipping industry.
About 30 years has passed since the third period started, and as structural change and globalization in the maritime industry have moved forward, the NYK Group’s business activities have also changed in a big way. Many subsidiary companies and joint ventures with local partners have been established overseas and advanced with diversification and globalization. Now, national staffs who work at NYK Group companies overseas support the backbone of the Group. You will work together with these colleagues.
As I tell new employees every year, communication skills are very important when you work in such environments. The shipping and logistics business concerns not only the transport of cargo but also the transfer of information. Providing clear, accurate information and grasping what others really mean are very important skills to keep work flowing smoothly.
It is known that there are two types of communication: verbal communication and nonverbal communication. Verbal communication requires the speaker to inform others logically about various matters. Specifically, when you talk with non-Japanese people, it is important to understand the other party’s standpoint and situation, and communicate without exaggeration or omission. I keenly realized the importance of it when I was stationed in Germany. It is important to endeavor to convey your ideas by choosing and forming words diligently. When using nonverbal communication, you must appeal to others through your personal magnetism. And when you have many options in mind from which you can direct a discussion, depth will be added to your communication. I want your communication to be logical and filled with personal magnetism. This will be important not only in your career but also in your private life. You can make improvements day by day.
I also hope that you have a sense of curiosity about things that you encounter. Accumulate a variety of knowledge and experiences in your daily life, and whenever you find something interesting, or even strange, please give it balanced consideration. Don’t swallow information the moment you receive it. Make a practice of giving it thought. This habit can take a long time to develop, but can reward you with skills of observation and insightful acumen that can benefit your career.
Today, you are taking your first step as an employee of NYK. I hope that you will work not just for the company, but that, in the future, when you look back over your life, you will be able to feel with confidence that you have led a rich and fulfilling life. And please don’t forget to give appreciation to your family and those who have supported you so far. You are to build the next 30 years of the NYK Group. Please maintain your vitality and keep your mind fresh so that we can do our best together from today onwards.”
Ivan Vodopivec Jr., the representative of the Croatian office of NYK Shipmanagement Pte. Ltd., has been recognized by the Japanese government as an Honorary Consul General of Japan* for the port city of Split, the second largest city in Croatia. As a result of this recognition, an Honorary Consulate has been established at the office of NYK Shipmanagement Pte. Ltd., a subsidiary of NYK.
Vodopivec is also CEO of Iva Shipping Ltd., which has employed and trained Croatian crew for NYK vessels for many years. The contributions to building a close relationship between Japan and Croatia have been recognized by the Japanese Government.
A ceremony was held in January, attended by the Ambassador of Japan to Croatia, Keiji Takiguchi, who offered his hopes for an expansion of ties between the two countries.
The NYK Group will continue with its efforts to strengthen relations between Japan and Croatia through the maritime industry.
* Honorary Consul General of Japan
A recognition bestowed by the Japanese government to protect the interests of Japanese and promote cultural exchange in cities without diplomatic mission.