Communications Coordinator & Bilingual I.T. Administrative Assistant (English/Japanese)

Tokyo — Information Technology & Communications Dept. — medical industry


Looking for somebody with excellent Japanese and very good English, and at least an interest in technology, to improve international communications at an established Japanese company. Assistant-level postion with tons of growth opportunity for a motivated candidate.


This is an assistant-level position in the Information Technology & Communications Department at a Japanese medical company in central Tokyo.

This department has two missions: to operate a well-oiled, high-performing I.T. infrastructure (computers, tablets, smartphones, servers, cloud services, etc.), and to assist the company's other business units in making use of all that communications technology to actually *communicate*.

If you take this job, you will use your excellent Japanese and English abilities to help teams overcome language barriers, both internally and with international partners outside of Japan. This will include a lot of translating, explaining, and/or summarizing business documents, emails, and other communications. Native-level Japanese and excellent English are therefore required.

However, this is not a full-time translating gig; the other half of the job will have you playing an important role as a member of a small I.T. team, focused on using technology to promote better and more effective communications. This means doing your own continuous analysis of what is working well and what could be improved, and coming up with your own proposals for improvements. However, it also means debuggging which automatic Windows 7 update broke the regulatory department's MS Access clients, or why the sales team's iPads suddenly can't print, when things like that happen. Therefore, high-level general technology skills are also required.

Translation & Language Responsibilities

  • Translating emails from English to Japanese, and Japanese to English
  • Summarizing the contents of English emails and verbally explaining them in Japanese, to help managers and teams process a high volume of English mail, and capturing their verbal responses which you later convert into English email replies.
  • Ghostwriting emails and documents on behalf of various employees, to allow them to communicate electronically with people in English as if they spoke English, even though they really don't.
  • Serving as a point of contact for various projects, to handle inquiries in English from abroad, translating them into Japanese if necessary, and making sure they get to the right people within the company.

To do the above effectively, you will need:

  • Good communications skills in both languages
  • Patience (lots)
  • A sunny disposition and the ability to step into somebody else's shoes (and write their email)

IT Responsibilities

  • Help drive the in-house development of internal systems, as a user and tester (and developer, if you have those skills too).
  • Help evaluate various new software systems (e.g. Google Apps, Trello, Asana, Evernote, etc) and services on a continuous basis.
  • Help evaluate new hardware (e.g., iPad, Surface, Galaxy Note) on a continuous basis.
  • Although you will not be expected to do first-line tech support, you will inevitably have to answer basic questions about computers, tablets, phones, and other I.T. gear running Mac OS X 10.8, Mac OS X 10.9, Windows 7, Windows 8, iOS 6, iOS 7, Android 4.x

To do this part of the job effectively, you will need:

  • Experience with OS X, Linux, Windows, iOS, and Android. Or at least most of those, and the ability to learn fast
  • A good 'technical intuition'
  • The ability to reason logically about complex problems, and create and test hypotheses to find solutions
  • Programming/scripting skills not required, but if you have them you will get to use them.

Administrative Assistant Responsibilities

  • Take notes and capture the important minutes and action items from meetings that are held in both languages.
  • There is a small amount of paperwork that needs to be handled each week, such as processing bills and creating payment authorizations for them, signing up for or canceling Internet service, and so on.
  • You will be responsible for managing the shared calendar for the small I.T. team. That is a bit more involved that it sounds, because the group is continuously evaluating various calendar and groupware solutions that don't integrate well or at all, so it will be up to you to either write some scripts to do it, or else to just do it manually.
  • Making calls to do routine tasks like book restaurant, reserve taxis, etc. for employees who don't speak Japanese (in Japan) or English (calls to USA/Europe).
  • Filling in for the department head on a moment's notice at meetings when he is hungover or otherwise indisposed.

How to Apply

Send me an email at with a paragraph or two about why you want to do this job and why you would be a good fit, and your resumé or CV attached.

Then give me at least two weeks to reply to you; I am not checking this mailbox every day.

Note: the above is not an official job description from the company in question; it is my own translation of it. Obviously you will want to verify all your expectations on your own before actually accepting the job.