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Minami Fuji: The human development specialists

Article - December 2, 2022

Founded in 1944 as a roof contractor, Minami Fuji has now created a human resource network spanning Asia where they train young ambitious personnel to become independent full-fledged members of society.


With over half a century’s worth of experience, Minami Fuji proudly ranks as Japan’s number one roof construction company and leads the way in human resource and business development not only in the Nippon nation, but across all of Asia. One of the reasons behind this is the focus on targeting and developing the right people.

“In order to recruit high level personnel as human resources, it’s important to educate them, as we all have different cultural, linguistic and religious backgrounds,” says Sadahisa Sugiyama, the company’s chairman of the board, adding that, “education materials in Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Japanese and many other languages ensure a united team, utilizing a wide- reaching resource pool for talent.”

Free tuition — including the Global Management College (GMC) which trains candidates to become co-owners and managers of companies by the age of 22 — ‘IT Meisters’ for tech training, and scholarships in collaboration with top universities, all contribute to bringing in quality young employees. Mr. Sugiyama, who is also a professor at 18 universities, and his team’s demonstrable experts in their fields now cover three divisions at Minami Fuji.

“One is exterior roofing, the construction business,” the chairman says. “The second is our overseas business and the third is our social business, which we call a human resource development business, both domestically and overseas.”

When it comes to the construction side of things, Mr. Sugiyama maintains his macro vision.

“I think that the scrap-and-build approach to renewal in Japan needs to be changed into one characterized more by the renovation or refurbishment of existing buildings.

“We have five office renovation projects, but it is important to shift the Japanese mindset from building a new construction to the European idea of maintenance and longevity of buildings being the main priority,” he explains, adding that there is also real value in welcoming foreign workers into Japan and the need to evolve.

“Innovation is critical, so it’s not just the design of new products that is important, but the evolution of existing designs should become more common.

“Even in the age of digitalization, roofing construction work remains important and in de- mand. You can’t use automation to replace the roofing construction process, so we have shifted ourselves with the aim of be- coming the number one roofing company in the world.”

And with different business streams comes significant synergies. “One of our human resource development projects, RMS (Roof- MeisterSchool), focuses on the issue of NEETs (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) in Japan, as well as the declining birth rate and aging population. After three months of free training and subsidized living expenses, the RMS attendees will work for us as roofing specialists, helping in some way to alleviate the shortage of human resources,” Mr. Sugiyama says.

“Overall, we are experiencing a win-win situation. I consider social development as seed planting or investment, and that is important in achieving an advantage in the long term.

“In developing human re- sources abroad, we are entering through a cultural perspective, not through an economic perspective,” he continues, “so we are able to integrate smoothly into the school and have a collaborative partnership with them. And we would like to continue this in other countries as well, not only in universities but also other educational facilities. Al- though our GMCs are provided free of charge, creating a human network is priceless.”

While understanding the challenges that are faced in today’s society, especially with techno- logical advancements, Mr. Sugiyama has some advice for the younger generation.

“If you have the wisdom, the sincerity of heart, and the flexibility of mind, you can overcome anything,” he says.

And as Minami Fuji looks to grow internationally, the intangible assets of wisdom and know- how in human resource development can be shared even further.