Yoko is a manager in the Information Security & Privacy Governance Department and Information Technology & Security Supervisory Department for Rakuten Group in Japan.
I work in the Information Security & Privacy Governance Department, overseeing privacy compliance for Rakuten Group. With the rapid development of technology, the interest and concern about privacy have been growing significantly. This has resulted in the revision and establishment of privacy laws worldwide, including Japan. As Rakuten Group expands its business globally, it must investigate whether all its companies and services, including those overseas, are subject to newly revised or enacted laws and regulations. If so, Rakuten has to take the necessary measures to meet the requirements stipulated by law. By responding to consultation matters received from business representatives, I am building up my knowledge and experience as an expert in handling privacy issues.
I joined Rakuten as a temporary employee in 2018. I was involved in translation work at a national research institute in my previous job, but I struggled to balance my work and parenting responsibilities. I opted instead to pursue work as a temporary employee, which is how I came to be at Rakuten. The interviewer valued my experience translating specialized texts and was impressed with my work approach, which can be summarized as follows: “It’s important to understand the concept first because once you do, the rest becomes repetitive and easier.” This led to an immediate decision to hire me. I believe that my English language skills made me well-prepared for work at Rakuten. I have focused on roles requiring English proficiency and gained experience in diverse industries and positions. For example, I have worked as a sales assistant at a trading company and as a retailer of used cars for overseas markets. I strongly feel that I have been able to meet the expectations for the work required of me, primarily due to my life experiences, such as the patience and flexibility I have developed through raising children.
While working as a temporary employee, my supervisor suggested that I study the subject of privacy. I was surprised by this suggestion; back then, I had no legal knowledge or experience. However, they said to me, “The field of privacy in Japan is not yet established, and there are very few specialists, but Rakuten is looking for someone who understands the legal field and is equipped with good communication skills to handle this area in the future. This type of work might be a good fit for you.” This led me to study privacy and obtain my certification. When I first joined the company, I was only involved in clerical work, but now I am a full-time employee and can develop ideas as a team member. I am put in charge of subsidiaries and services and am responsible for promoting our initiatives inside and outside Rakuten. I’m making steady progress, and I appreciate the members who assist me daily.
The appeal and real joy of working at Rakuten
I believe that Rakuten’s commitment to diversity lies in its emphasis on recognizing each individual’s unique characteristics and potential, regardless of their age, gender or previous career background. This inclusive approach is one of the main reasons I find working at Rakuten highly appealing. There are other people like me who feel it is challenging to balance work and parenting or want to re-evaluate their career once child-rearing demands become more manageable. Creating an environment that values individuals’ potential and personality while offering opportunities to tackle challenges without setting limitations is crucial for their optimal growth and improvement. I remember how happy I was when my supervisor, having observed my daily work performance, told me, “If you aim to become a specialist, I will support you.”
In addition, Rakuten has a system in place that supports employee efforts to take on challenges and grow through opportunities like department transfers and internal job openings. I think that work is a matter of supply and demand, so I believe opportunities will come our way if we can detect the demand for people who can do such things and ensure that we develop our skills in those areas.
What are some things that being at Rakuten allows you to do?
Privacy compliance is a field that has emerged rapidly over the past several years and requires a speedy response in cooperation with privacy experts. In certain instances, projects run concurrently for several years, with legal experts from each country leading the efforts. These experts carefully examine the necessary actions, engage with business representatives, clarify the laws’ provisions and project details using simple language and establish new processes to ensure compliance with regulations. By having all employees collaborate on these projects, we can work on our daily tasks with a sense of unity and a desire to improve.
I have obtained the Japanese privacy certification, “Protection of Individual Information Person,” and I anticipate there will be more specialized certifications for privacy in the future, both domestically and internationally. I would first like to aim to obtain the privacy expert certifications administered by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), a global organization, so I can become familiar with the laws in Japan and other countries. I hope to gain a firm grasp of the global privacy mainstream by becoming more knowledgeable about foreign laws and regulations in the EU, US and other countries.
My family understands the ambitions I have for my career and supports me by helping with household chores. I’m proud that my two children have even developed an interest in law. The presence of family members is also a great motivation for my work.
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