Toyota City, Aichi

As the name of the city suggests, Toyota City thrives on the automobile industry. In recent years, the central-Japan area has enjoyed the fastest growing economy within the country thanks to companies like Toyota Motor Corporation. Due to the high number of foreign residents in the region, Toyota city actively supports international NGOs.

On Sep.19th, part of the class visited the OISCA Training Center. At this multinational NGO, people from developing nations are able to take lessons in sustainable development as well as acquire skills in modern agricultural methods. WCI participants joined the trainees to help harvest rice at the paddy for a day.

“The most important lesson I leaned today through the harvest work, is that WE SHOULD CHERISH OUR FOOD! I really understand how difficult farming work is. It’s necessary to develop our techniques. Helping and training those people from developing regions and teaching them organic farming is very good”
-Lisa Wang, (China)

Another part of our class had the chance to have a tour in one of the Toyota plants to see their eco-friendly operations and later take part in the role-playing simulation facilitated by Toyota’s education personnel to experience how the well-known TPS (Toyota Production System) functions.

On Sep. 20th, the entire class had the opportunity to visit another Toyota plant as well as their exhibition center, and later had the privilege to have a lunch and a Q&A session with the PR director of the corporation to gain a better understanding of the secrets to their international success.

“Since childhood, I’ve been interested in everything with wheels and engines. I studied Industrial Engineering and Management with specialization in logistics at my university. I enjoyed the workshop a lot. This way you can experience their daily production method. I also saw the theory, I learned, I applied.”
-Bjorn Jurcka, (Netherlands)

Suita City, Osaka


On Sep. 10 and 11, the class split into groups to visit several local companies. You could feel the spirit of “Think Globally, Act Locally” in Suita. Located in one of the biggest commercial areas in Japan, Suita city hosts a number of corporations whose products are sold internationally.

One group visited Taiko Pharmaceuticals, known nationally for their stomach medicine “Seirogan”, and had the opportunity to have lunch with the president of the company. We were surprised to learn that it is only recently that they have found out the scientific explanation to the effectiveness of the herbal medication, although Seirogan has been used in Japan for more than a century. The company considers their mission is to bring health to people all over the world and is expanding sales internationally.

Each group was able to learn more about company activities for Corporate Social Responsibility. In Yodogawa Hu-tech, a manufacturer of florescent products, the health of employees are considered most seriously. They are strongly encouraged to quit smoking – and when they succeed, they receive bonus money from the company! They told us that they are often thanked by employees’ families for making their family members healthier.

Since the first mass- developed residential district is located in Suita, many local companies understand the connectivity to the local residents. For example, a steel production company we visited offers local residents the free use of their tennis courts as well as volley ball field, and a house-cleaning company organizes park beautification activities.