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東京大学公共政策大学院 | GraSPP / Graduate School of Public Policy | The university of Tokyo

Umi Joelle Ariga (GR Japan, Winter 2021) April 07, 2021

GR Japan

GR Japan Internship Report

About GR Japan K.K.
GR Japan is a major government relations and public policy consultancy firm. The majority of their clients are international firms and organizations that require mediation with the Japanese National Diet, ministries and political parties in order to advance their interests. GR Japan offers offer a full range of government relations and related services, including policy and issue monitoring, stakeholder mapping, in-depth intelligence, political due diligence, strategic outreach, advocacy, public affairs campaigns and strategic support for public tenders / public-sector sales.

Responsibilities and daily activities
I had the opportunity of interning at GR Japan from 1 February to 31 March. My biggest project throughout these two months was the creation of a stakeholder and issue mapping report for a client, a major environmental INGO. My main tasks included doing in-depth research on government and industry stakeholders, transcribing and translating interviews in Japanese into English, and summarizing information into a final PowerPoint. It was thrilling to be part of a project from A to Z with 3 experienced consultants, to participate in the formulation of strategy recommendations, and to see that I directly contributed to the final product and that, maybe, I have made a small difference.
I was also participating to various daily tasks. For instance, I was in charge of writing a weekly monitoring report for a client about autonomous driving. I also worked on several healthcare accounts, which lead me to do in-depth research on the Japanese legal system, notably healthcare-related laws and drafting explanatory reports in English. I also often researched on various national and local government initiatives, ranging from environmental protection to economic revitalization projects.

What I’ve learned
It was the first time that I was interning in a private company or in a Japanese environment, and as such I have learned a lot. First, I have noticed a significant improvement in my language skills, as it was my first time dealing with professional communication and research of complex topics in Japanese. Furthermore, I have learned a lot about the nature of consultancy work. I realized just how diverse public policy consultancy was. I remember that on the first day of the internship my supervisor told me that what was key to become a good consultant was the ability to get familiarized very quickly in any topic, however niche. I am hoping that that is something I have become slightly better at, as I have researched a lot into the automotive and healthcare sectors, in which I previously had no knowledge. Lastly, I have learned tremendously about the functioning of Japanese lawmaking. Although I knew the structure of Japanese government from a very theoretical, political scientific perspective, I was not aware of the dynamics between all the different bodies within the parliament and parties, the industry, the media, etc. My supervisor often took the time to teach me about the official and unofficial linkages between all these interest groups.