A recent issue of Diplomacy & Trade has run a piece on the Japanese organization SHOKOKAI in its Japanese country focus section. The organization is exchanging information that can be useful for the management of the Japanese companies present in Hungary.
SHOKOKAI is an organization in which the main members are subsidiaries, branches and liaison offices of Japanese companies and other Hungarian legal entities into which Japanese companies invest.
“The regular members must have offices or enterprise seats in Hungary,” notes Hiroaki Matsuyama, board member of SHOKOKAI and Managing Director or Nifast Hungary Kft. Looking back to more than 30 years, the organization now has 41 members.
The majority of these companies are manufacturers, mainly representing the automotive, technology and green technology sectors. “When first brought to life in 1979, the organization’s main members were Japanese general trading companies, but from the late 1990s, many Japanese companies established production plants in Hungary,” Matsuyama explains, adding that today, SHOKOKAI is facing a structural change, to be, as its name suggests, a chamber of industry and commerce.
“We are having general meetings six times per year, where we exchange information that can be useful for the management of the Japanese companies present in Hungary,” Matsuyama continues. “For smooth business activities of member companies, we study laws, regulations and the current business environment, and, if needed, we also make petitions or submit opinions to relevant sections of the Hungarian government.
Laws are changing rapidly in Hungary, but this only made us more active,” the board member smiles. According to him, one of the four subsections of SHOKOKAI dealing with labor issues was very active this year organizing seminars about the new labor code, while another subsection is busy studying accounting, tax and social security fee related matters and is also organizing seminars about these issues.
“Of seminars, you can’t get enough, a series of meetings were organized about the general economic situation, as well,” Matsuyama says, adding that this year, SHOKOKAI has sent a letter to the Hungarian government asking for the support for early starting negotiations of EU Japan EPA (Economic Partnership Agreement) and received a positive response.
Earlier, they questioned the Hungarian government about the regulation change on social security contributions and tax for Japanese expatriates, not willing to pay double taxes.
“We have interactions with similar organizations in other countries and we also do external activities such as attending and supporting different events, including cultural and educational programs.
This spring, we supported a Japanese Speech Competition, organized at Budapest’s Szent László high school for Hungarian students studying Japanese language. We also supported the so-called ‘Japan Days’, a series of events that introduced various aspects of Japanese culture to Hungarian people in Veszprém in May.
Another successful program we traditionally support is the softball tournament, held twice a year by Japanese people in Hungary, for both Japanese and Hungarians, and for a great fun.” For its members, SHOKOKAI offers support to the Japanese school and other organizations that are doing education in Japanese language mainly for Japanese children.