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August 6, 2012

Making a mark in management

photo of Yukihiko Kushida

Yukihiko Kushida, Manager

General Affairs Section, RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science

How and when did you join RIKEN?

I originally worked at the Japan Nuclear Cycle Development Agency (JNC, now the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, or JAEA) and came to the RIKEN International Cooperation Office (ICO) on a transfer assignment. The initial plan was for me to be there for two years, but after my stay was extended several times I received a request to fully transfer from the JAEA to RIKEN. At first I was a bit hesitant to move to RIKEN because I enjoyed the challenge of working with nuclear energy and was comfortable with my job situation at the time. However, I could tell that I was needed, and even the JAEA encouraged me to take the position. I finally decided to join RIKEN in April 2009.

Please tell us about your work at RIKEN.

I worked abroad through the JNC for almost 5 years, which was why I was first assigned to the ICO at RIKEN, where I helped with visits from overseas guests and research cooperation with international institutions. My next position, in the General Affairs Section, gave me the opportunity to welcome distinguished visitors from within Japan and overseas, along with other diverse projects.

I was later transferred to the Evaluation Section of the Policy Planning Division, where I was part of the secretariat for the RIKEN Advisory Council, which handles operations for external evaluations of RIKEN. I was involved whenever RIKEN received government evaluations and assisted with the administration of external award nominations, and also helped run a research information database.

In May 2012 I began my current position as manager of the General Affairs Section of the Research Support Division at the Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS) in Kobe. My duties now include overseeing general administrative tasks, human resources, employee benefits, facility management and office IT.

What have been the highlights of your time at RIKEN so far?

A memorable experience for me was the time when in October 2006 the Emperor and Empress of Japan visited the Wako Campus. Planning started months in advance, and the day of the visit required very tight security and a minute-by-minute breakdown of the schedule. As the RIKEN security coordinator, I worked with the police to ensure that everything went smoothly. The preparation was difficult, but I still remember the satisfaction I felt when the visit was successfully completed without any problems.

What is the best thing about working at RIKEN?

Working at RIKEN gives administrative staff the opportunity to interact with Jap­an’s leading researchers and learn about the country’s current scientific research and its future direction.

What would you say to other people considering joining RIKEN?

RIKEN’s offices do more than just the “glamorous” work of research planning, public relations and international affairs. There are also “behind-the-scenes” tasks related to contracts, accounting and general administrative work. I think it is important to enjoy this kind of work too, and look forward to working together with those eager to do so.