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Nagoya’s economy soars thanks to aviation

Nagoya is the traditional center of Japan’s aviation industry because Chubu, the region’s largest city, is the base of Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation and subsidiary Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), a partnership between Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and car giant Toyota. Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. built the first Japanese-designed airline in Japan.

Given this long-standing history, Nagoya continues to excel in all aspects of the aerospace and aviation industry. Wada Aviation, a part of AeroGroup, and NSR Japan are two other key players in aerospace manufacturing and aviation consulting.

Having recently marked its 60th anniversary, Wada Aircraft Technology specializes in the design and engineering of aircraft parts and applications. AeroGroup acquired its competitive edge because it is a one-stop shop for aviation companies, from initial design until final delivery of the aircraft.

With WADA Aircraft President Noriyuki Wada (center) and Alex Hammond Louie Bauldwin from International Sales Department

“Within the group, we have everything that the clients need from start to finish, and a lot of companies can’t offer that. That is our biggest advantage,” President Noriyuki Wada said.

As the industry becomes more competitive and other Asian markets exhibit more growth potential, Wada opened its first overseas office in Malaysia last year. It focuses on providing extensive technical training as a means of extending its global presence. To guarantee high quality and working standards, the Malaysia office employs local staff that received graduate degrees and training in Japan.

“The industry is moving towards Asia, and the most important thing is quality. That’s really where you can trust Japan’s work, if nothing else. The level of our commitment, and the long history and experience with the technology, we feel, is the most important thing about Japan, especially in the aerospace industry,” Wada also said.

Meanwhile, NSR Japan is a consulting firm that caters to the staffing needs of aerospace and automotive companies. Established in 1995 in Ohio, the American-based company initially provided business support and recruitment services for firms that wanted to expand in the United States. In 2004, less than 10 years from its inception, NSR opened its first office in Japan, specifically in the Mie Prefecture, where it stayed for seven years before relocating to Nagoya in 2011. 

Given the increasing globalization of Japanese companies and growing interest of American companies to enter the Japanese market, NSR believes that it is the right opportunity to expand its services. It has brought American engineers to Japan in order to support the expansion plans of their clients in the aerospace and automotive industries.

“The aerospace industry is in need of highly qualified employees, just like the automotive industry. We have supported U.S. companies expanding [their] operations in Asian countries, and Japanese companies expanding locally and overseas too,” President Hiro Shinohara said.

Since starting in Japan, NSR has made a name for itself in the industry. It is mainly involved in contract employment and direct staffing for aerospace clients coming from different parts of the world. Apart from this, it has an engineering service unit that provides onsite engineers for their clients.

“Japan has been working on globalizing its companies, but I’m hoping business owners and key people take more initiative, be more involved in international activities, and also not forget to provide their own employees [a good] experience as well,” Shinohara said.

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Japan 2018 was prepared for and originally printed in Foreign Affairs magazine.

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