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In April 2020, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL), a multimodal transport group, launched a recruitment and consulting service business specializing in foreign personnel. In this article, we will explain why MOL has started a business that does not seem to be related to shipping, along with its history and changes in the external environment.

Foreign Seafarers of ocean-going vessels

The number of ocean-going vessels operated by Japanese shipping companies is about 3,900, making it the second largest ship-owning country in the world, second only to Greece. Did you know that most of the crews aboard these ocean-going vessels are foreigners, not Japanese? In the early 1970s, there were more than 50,000 Japanese seafarers on board ocean-going ships. However, the demand for foreign seafarers has been gradually increasing. Today, the number of Japanese seafarers has fallen to about 2,000, which is only 3.5% of the total. On the other hand, the number of Filipino seafarers is currently about 40,000 which is 75% of the total number, while other Asians such as Indians, Chinese and Indonesians account for 20% of the total. As can be seen, Japan is now largely dependent on foreign seafarers.

For more information, see this article: Seafarers Essential to Maritime Transport

Long history of MOL and the Philippines

As foreign seafarers are now the core of the crews on MOL owned vessels, it has become necessary to secure a stable workforce and maintain a certain level of skill required for safe operations. In this context, MOL, together with its local partner Magsaysay Group, has long been dedicated to the education and training of seafarers in the Philippines. Magsaysay Group is a company with a long history rooted in the Philippines, and has even produced a Filipino president in its past. MOL has been cooperating widely with Magsaysay Group since the 1980s, when it started assigning Filipino seafarers to its ships. We have been working together, such as, establishment of seafarer training arm, the Magsaysay Institute of Shipping (MIS) in 1993 and the establishment and management of a boarding maritime academy, MOL Magsaysay Maritime Academy (MMMA), in 2018. Seafarers who have received seafarer training operated by these two companies are able to demonstrate the high safety standards required in our ship operations.

Magsaysay Group sends Filipinos around the world for a wide range of jobs, not just as seafarers, and they have built one of the best track records and brands in the Philippines in the recruitment business.

Magsaysayグループのフィリピン人紹介数(2018年時点)The number of Filipino recruits at the Magsaysay Group (as of 2018)

Domestic labor shortage in Japan

For a long time a labor shortage has become a serious problem in Japan, not only in the declining number of seafarers, but also in the workforce as a whole. The promotion of women and the elderly as well as the use of ICT has helped improve productivity, but the use of foreign human resources is considered to be a key element in the solution to this problem as well. According to the data of PERSOL RESEARCH AND CONSULTING CO., LTD., there will be a shortage of 6.44 million people in the workforce by 2030. At the same time, however, it is estimated that the number of foreign workers will increase to about 810,000 by 2030 due to the expansion of residence status, etc.. On the other hand, there are still many companies that have no experience working with foreign personnel, and it is imagined that they will face many difficulties when they take the first step on their own.
Trends in the number of foreign workers in Japan-1
Trends in the number of foreign workers in Japan (estimated figures after 2020)
Source: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare
Created by MOL
MOL intends to contribute towards solving the problem of companies facing a labor shortage by providing recruitment and consulting services for foreign human resources, not only in the seafarers field, but also in a wide range of other fields. We intend to take full advantage of our long partnership with Magsaysay Group, utilizing their recruitment expertise and our experience and expertise in building trusting relationships with foreign seafarers.

Procedures required for hiring foreign human resources

So, what kind of procedures are required when hiring foreign workers? Broadly speaking, the following steps are taken before and after offers:

<Before Offer>
・Consideration and presentation of required personnel conditions (ex. Nationality Selection, Japanese Language Level,
Background, etc.)

・Consideration of local education before entering Japan
(ex. Selection of educational facilities)

・Conduct interviews with candidates

<After Offer>
・Procedures in the home country.
(In the case of the Philippines: POEA = Procedures with Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.)

・Procedures in Japan (ex. Obtaining status of residence).

・Improving the livelihoods of workers (ex. native language support available 24/7, housing support, etc.).

・Support to increase the stability of workers.

Depending on the issues and situations faced by companies, MOL offers consulting services such as the implementation of local training using our educational facilities, pre-screening of candidates to find the most suitable foreign human resources, and offering the option to undertake procedures after offers. In addition, we will provide regular interviews with companies and employers and prepare reports as necessary in order to increase the stability of workers after their employment. We will do our best to make the process as efficient and stress-free as possible, while respecting your company’s goals in hiring foreign talent.

We have also prepared material that summarizes the recruitment process and the characteristics of the human resources, focusing on Filipinos. If you are interested, please download it below. (Of course, we are happy to discuss other nationalities as well.)

フィリピン人材特徴 EN CTAフィリピン人材 採用フロー英語 CTA

First of all, Try to envision…

"We have enough human resources now. But in 10 years from now, will it really be possible to maintain the current status?"

"We have a business plan to expand our business overseas in the future, but do we have enough appropriate human resources to do that?"

"Are we really prepared for the inbound demand after COVID-19?"

"Are we able to globalize and revitalize our company in order to survive the changing times?"
If you have any concerns, please feel free to contact us below.
We will support you to clear up any anxiety and lead you to a solution. MOL will provide consulting services for foreign human resources that goes beyond recruitment and helps your company from a medium to long-term perspective.

CTA Inquiry GHRC



Joined the company in 2014. After working in charge of Iron Ore and Coal Carrier ship operation, I have been involved in new business creation since 2017.The shortage of human resources in the wind power generation field, led me to establish a foreign human resources consulting business. "A drink after work" is my bliss time. As I started to work at home more and more, I took on the challenge of changing my favorite beer to vinegar. I was seriously worried by my parents, who are drinkers.

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