Oct.17.2015 KIP Forum "The management of JINRO and relations between Japan and South Korea"
Mr. YANG IN JIP, CEO of Hite-Jinro Japan

For our October forum, we invited Mr. YANG IN JIP as our guest speaker. He is the CEO of JINRO INC., and is greatly concerned with promoting more interaction between Japan and Korea. The title of his lecture was “The management of JINRO Inc. and Japan-Korean relationship.” The main theme was about how JINRO expanded its market share in Japanese liquor market and how we should take actions to improve Japan-Korea relationship.

Despite the trend of Japanese young people consuming less alcohol these days, JINRO has expanded its share to a high level, which now being the only foreign company ranked in top 10 in Japanese market. What Mr. Yang emphasized about was his endeavor since he took his office as CEO to localize JINRO to Japan that made the company more successful than the other foreign companies. His method, which is not to pressure their country’s way but to adapt to each country’s custom, had a similarity with the idea of improving the Japan-Korea relationship. “Say goodbye to ‘Unprecedented’” was one of the slogans Mr. Yang emphasized regularly. These slogans were persuasive enough to be convinced of JINRO’s success.

Mr. Yang has been striving to improve Japan-Korea relationship, but his ancestors are actually members of Korean anti-Japanese independence movement. Mr. Yang says that although many of his family members have anti-Japanese sentiments, that is why he is working for a reconciliation of two countries. “It is the Youths who makes the future, so your vision and heart should be broad and open-minded ” was Mr. Yang’s words. These words were stimulating for me since I thought about territorial dispute in a Japan-oriented way.

After the lecture, each group discussed a theme related to the lecture. Some group made an argument that to change the public opinion to improve Japan-Korean relationship, it is essential to change the education. Other group argued that it is better to use the same history- textbook or sharing the same class will be more effective. Although we all have argued about the relationship between Japan and Korea, we still haven’t reached a good solution. These discussions became a good opportunity for us to realize the current situation and how difficult and confusing the issue is. Finally, I would like to express our gratitude to Mr. Yang for taking time to speak to us.