Job Hunting

How to Find Excellent Companies in Japan [Job Hunting in Japan Series - Part 5]

Miso Dog
Misoko-sensei, I don't know which company is good because there are too many companies in Japan!
True.. It is said that there are about 4.2 million companies in Japan.
Miso Dog
That many? Well, how am I supposed to find a good company among them? Help me sensei!
If you listen to today’s lesson till the end, you will get the answer! So, listen carefully!
Miso Dog
Yes! Are you guys ready?

Introduction: Corporate Analysis Method Using IR Information

You may have not heard of “IR information” before.
IR stands for Investor Relations, and with this, you can find out information such as: if the company is stable, if it will go bankrupt or not, if it will grow in the future, and more.
On top of that, Not many students use IR information when looking for a job. So if you use it, you’ll be able to collect information that other students don’t have.
When telling a company why you applied, you can use this information to stand out from other applicants.

Miso Dog
But...IR information... sounds very difficult!

The words, "IR" or "financial analysis," may sound daunting, but don’t worry.
What you have to do is quite simple. I’ll tell you the easiest way to collect information so you can use it from now on.

Miso Dog
Okay then, I’m ready!

Alright! Now let's get into the details.

4 Things That You Should Know About the Annual Securities Report

Here are the four items I’ll cover today

  1. IR information   - What is an annual securities report?
  2. Check a company’s current business situation
  3. Check problems to be addressed and risks in business
  4. Check employees’ information

Let's take a look at them one by one.

IR Information - Annual Securities Report

IR information refers to all information published by listed companies for investors.
Today I’ll talk about one kind of IR information, "Annual securities report”, which is a report on the management and financial status of companies.

An annual securities report can be found on the "Investor Information/IR Information" page on a listed company’s website. Now, let me explain how to find a list of annual securities reports using the electronic disclosure system "EDINET" of the Financial Services Agency (FSA).

Go to EDINET’s website by entering "EDINET" into your search engine.
First, click the "Document Search" tab. Then, enter the company name in the box for "Submitter/Issuer/Fund."

Next, check the "Annual Securities Report" box for "Type of document," then click the search button.

The search results will be displayed below, so click on the securities report for the most recent fiscal year.

In general, Annual Securities Reports are only written in Japanese, but some companies also publish English versions.

Here is a link to English translations of Annual Securities Reports (ASRs) on EDINET.

Miso Dog
I see, I see.
So, company information is collected on the website named EDINET...
That's right.
By the way, some companies’ annual securities report can be hundreds of pages long.
For real…?
You said this should be the "easy" way, didn’t you?
You lied to me, sensei!
Miso Dog
No, no, no…  I admit that an annual securities report has way too many pages to read and it's difficult to understand everything.
Well, you don't have to read all the pages!
There are only three items you have to check out!
If there are only three, I think I can handle that!
So, what are the 3 items?
Miso Dog
Here are the three items that you should look for in an annual securities report

  1. Overview of Business 【事業の状況】
  2. Business Risks  【事業等のリスク】
  3. Employees 【従業員の状況】

These items are written in sentences so you don’t have to read difficult numbers in financial statements such as balance sheets or income statements. You can easily do corporate research even when you’re on the train.
Okay then, let's dive into the first item!

1. Overview of Business

Here’s an example of an overview of the business. I picked NTT docomo because they publish reports in both Japanese and English.
In this item, the situation of the company and/or the situation of its industry is briefly described. In response to the current business situation, what kind of policy is going to be implemented, what fields the company will concentrate on, and what direction the company is heading are mentioned here.

You can check if what you want to do matches the direction the company is heading.

Miso Dog
Oh. This is where you can see the field in which companies will focus their efforts!
Pretty cool!
That's right. I think everyone just looks at the company's website, but here you can find more details as this information is intended for investors.
Now, let's move on to the next item.

2. Business Risks

In this item, the current challenges companies face and future risks are described.
By understanding the issues and risks, you can figure out weaknesses and future measures of the company.
You may be asked questions such as "What do you think are the weaknesses of our company?" in your interview. If you have checked this in advance, you can provide accurate answers.

It is crucial to know the company's issues and risks when choosing a company, so be sure to check these out.

Miso Dog
Issues that companies have...
That'd be a vital element I think.

Yes, it is essential information.
If you join the company, the issues will be yours either directly or indirectly.

Now I hope you know that you should definitely read this item.


Miso Dog
Yep, I will definitely check it out!
There is a chance that even a large corporation might not be doing well.

You’re right.
Let's move on to the third item.

3. Employees

The third item is “Employees."
In this item, you can find information such as the number of employees, average annual income, and average years of service in each sector.

You may be able to check the average annual income and average years of service by googling these words. By using the IR information on the number of employees in each sector as well as the fields that the company is going to concentrate in, you can extrapolate where you’ll most likely be working.

Miso Dog
Certainly, the number of employees, average annual salary, and average years of service in each sector are very important information. I didn't pay attention to those things at all until now.

Although a company's website usually shows their vision or mission, it is almost impossible to get specific information like the allocation ratio of human resources.
At a company’s information session, even if they mention a certain sector they will focus on, there might be cases where there are actually few personnel assigned to that sector.

Then, if you could discover that fact from the annual securities report, it’s also a good idea to ask about it to get more specific information at OB/OG visits (visit alumni of your school) or a job fair.


Miso Dog
I agree.
I learned that the amount of information I have can affect the quality of my questions.

In Conclusion

Corporate analysis using IR information is highly recommended for conducting corporate research to differentiate yourself from rivals.

The three items discussed today are very important, yet quite easy to access. Basically all companies use the same format in annual securities reports, which helps you effectively do a comparative analysis of other companies in the same industry.

So, please try it out!

Check out the previous articles for information on Job Hunting in Japan:

3 Characteristics of Japanese Companies that you should know [Job Hunting in Japan Series - Part 1]

7 Things That You Should Do in the Job-Hunting Process [Job Hunting in Japan Series - Part 2]

4 Ways to Search for Japanese Companies [Job Hunting in Japan Series - Part 3]

“I wish I knew this sooner!” Internship in Japan Basics [Job Hunting in Japan Series - Part 4]

-Job Hunting

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