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May 24, 2013

Supporting RIKEN’s contribution to society

photo of Yoshinobu Aota

Yoshinobu Aota, Manager

Sendai Administrative Office

How did you join RIKEN and what kind of support did RIKEN provide you with?

I was working in a different industry but became interested in joining RIKEN when I learned about its excellent working environment. As it was my first experience of working in an administrative position, I was very nervous at the beginning. However, I started to feel more comfortable thanks to my comprehensive training and the office’s relaxing atmosphere. I was encouraged to undertake courses and external training and what I learned during this time is still relevant to my work today. RIKEN has a diverse employee training program that includes an e-learning system and courses developed by external experts.

Please tell us about your work at RIKEN.

My first role involved handling payment-related tasks such as calculating salaries and income and resident taxes. After four years in Wako, I was relocated to Sendai to engage in accounting, safety control and facility management. In my office in Sendai, there were fewer workers to handle a similar volume of tasks than at the other offices and it was a challenge to multitask. However, the variety of roles taught me about the different sides of RIKEN and I soon realized that multiple tasks were related to each other. In 2010, I was promoted to manager and I now mainly oversee budget management and community relations.

What has been the most memorable event for you during your time at RIKEN?

The RIKEN Sendai Facility was greatly affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. In the darkness after the power cut, I worked hard to understand the damage sustained and to secure the budget so that our researchers could continue their work. In response to the tsunami, nuclear disaster and surrounding rumors, many non-Japanese employees returned to their home countries and some of those who were supposed to start working at RIKEN chose not to come to Japan. However, some foreign researchers who passionately wished to work at RIKEN did still join us at Sendai. I am very pleased that they continue to perform research in Japan.

What is the best thing about working at RIKEN?

RIKEN is featured in the media almost every day. This is a reflection of our hard work to solve various issues and the fulfillment of our responsibility to contribute to society. I find it rewarding to feel that I am supporting research that benefits our society. The working environment at RIKEN is also ideal because researchers and support staff work closely together to support each other.

What would you say to other people considering joining RIKEN?

RIKEN is a great place for someone who is willing to take on challenges since a framework to nurture such talents has been laid out. Support staff can utilize their abilities to handle diverse tasks, while researchers will find themselves in a stimulating environment and able to create new ideas through internal and external collaborations. In addition, a high level of flexibility allows us to seize opportunities to pursue our own work interests. If we maintain a sincere attitude to our work, our efforts will be rewarded.