Interview with Akio Mitsufuji, President of PMAJ (Project Management Association of Japan)

What roles do projects and project management play in Japan?

Akio Mitsufuji: The major roles of projects and project management in Japan are to CONTROL projects. The main reason is that the most influential industrial magazine, Nikkei BP, annually reports over 10 years that results of 70% ICT projects have been classified as FAILURE, though industries have focused upon projects and project management. There is the similar tendency in other industries, too.

Did the situation change during the last years?

AK: Large enterprises and public institutions began to realize the importance of program management, which is expected to provide optimization of multiple projects or mega projects.

What kinds of projects are most important for Japan?

AK: The Japanese Government pays attention to Growth Strategies in which there are many challenging projects and programs that have hardly been put into practice in the past. These projects and programs contain the overseas construction of ODA-based infrastructure such as environment, energy, transportation system, medical treatment, ICT and agriculture. Tasks the people think the most difficult in Japan are to make the population decline more slowly as well as to create jobs in local regions.

What is PMAJ doing?

AK: The main activities of PMAJ are to disseminate program & project management methodologies, mainly P2M (program and project management for enterprise innovation). PMAJ holds large-scaled PM symposium in Tokyo, where 2,000 PM practitioners and professionals participate every fall as well as small seminars at major regional cities in Japan through a year. In addition nation-wide qualification tests based upon P2M are conducted almost every month, while PMAJ holds many types of seminars for each level of PM candidates.

How is PMAJ linked to other national networks, the government and the international PM community?

AK: In general PMAJ has meetings and exchanges information with the below mentioned organizations at every opportunity. In particular, PMAJ has a collaborative relationship with several organizations which keep continuing professional development units system, and provide certified holders with points to maintain certification.

Other national networks : Society of PM(academic), International Association of P2M(academic), PMI Japan, Construction Management of Japan, Information Technology Coordinator Association, Japan Users Association of Information Systems, Japan Information Technology Service Industry Association, etc.

Government : Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Information-Technology Promotion Agency (IPA), Engineering Advancement Association of Japan (ENAA), Japan International Coordination Agency (JICA), The Overseas Human resources and Industry Development Association (HIDA), etc.

International PM community : PMI, IPMA, APFPM, Ukrainian Association of PM (UAPM), GAPPS

Is PMAJ interested in contacts to Germany and which mutual benefits do you see for both sides?

AK: Not only PMAJ but also many Japanese people and enterprises are interested in GPM as well as the German Industries. This was proved by the president of GPM, Mr. R. Wagner who made a presentation at the PM Symposium 2014, where many attendants took part and marked high scores for the post-lecture-questionnaires on GPM activities. Industries in Germany and Japan have many similarities and strengths, i.e. high productivity, high-quality orientation, punctuality & exactness, excellent craftsman, especially in engineering and manufacturing industries such as automobile, industrial machinery, heavy electrical machines and chemicals.

GPM and PMAJ would enjoy benefits if they could collaborate with each other in the field of project and project management.

Any other important information to add?

AK: PMAJ will complete the translation of the new P2M guidebook into English within a year. The book was highly evaluated by GAPPS Tokyo Meeting in spring, 2014.


Portrait of Akio Mitsufuji

Mr. Akio Mitsufuji, BEng, MEng, MSc (MOT), PE, is the president of PMAJ. He took office under the election of PMAJ members in July 2011. Since he made the Mid-term Vision and Goal early 2012, he has continued to steer PMAJ and its members to accomplish the goal in good faith.

About PMAJ

PMAJ commenced its activities in November 2005 under the guidance of ENAA, the Engineering Advancement Association of Japan and METI, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry with the mission to establish a national center of excellence for project management and to conduct the qualification tests for the purpose of education, training and public recognition of project management in Japan. The goal is to strengthening international competitiveness of Japanese industries. The previous organization of PMAJ started in December 1998.

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