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Oriental Consultants Group targets infrastructure development in emerging nations

Article - April 11, 2023

Oriental Consultants Group has brought the strengths of Japanese infrastructure to the developing world since its establishment in 1957.


“We will continue to make further contributions to society in order to realize our mission of ‘creating dreams and enriching lives’ for people around the world.”

Hidenori Nozaki, President, Oriental Consultants Holdings Co., Ltd.

An internationally renowned consulting firm which specializes in public infrastructure,  Oriental Consultants Group has recently celebrated its 65th anniversary.

According to company president, Hidenori Nozaki, Oriental Consultants Group has retained its advantage over competitors through its “long-standing history in overseas business” and its “accumulation of high-end technologies that provide optimal services to each and every region of the world.”

That starts, of course, with the group’s home country of Japan, where low fertility rates and labor shortages pose challenges in a number of different sectors.

Take construction, for instance. Mostly dating from the early 1960s, Japanese infrastructure is aging. Refurbishment, reconstruction and protecting the land from the onset of natural disasters will all have a crucial role to play in the years to come.

“With the country’s decreasing population,” Mr. Nozaki explains, “there’s a need to revitalize rural areas, and in order to do so, connecting cities has become crucial. Connecting those cities to a network is important, which means that there’s a growing need for transportation, which, in turn, means more transportation construction.”

Not easy, perhaps, in the face of the country’s well-documented demographic issues. But here the group has a three-pronged strategy to ensure its work force continues to operate at the highest level possible.

“First,” Mr. Nozaki confirms, “we are focusing on women. Even after having children they can come back and work, so we’re trying to create a system to let women work longer and more comfortably. The second strategy addresses the working environment for senior generations. We have increased the retirement age to 70 years old now. The third strategy is to try and diversify working styles so people can do teleworking or have more flexible hours.”

Digital Transformation and other IT initiatives such as the introduction of Building Information Modeling (BIM) will also prove vital in a sector that, historically speaking, hasn’t always willingly embraced change. With each step of the building process in Japan conducted by a separate entity, BIM, in particular, offers a comprehensive solution to the management of data.

Staying with construction, it is clear that  Oriental Consultants Group’s structure offers it a unique platform to provide high-quality services.

Mr. Nozaki takes up the thread: “Regarding public construction work, in Japan there’s the national level, prefectural level and the city, or municipal, level. Recently there’s been a growing need to combine different sectors, such as mitigating the effects of natural disasters in combination with carbon neutrality, regional revitalization and the implementation of digital transformation. By having multiple group companies which work together in different fields, we can create an optimal solution and provide optimal services to our clients.”

Highlighting a 2021 incident in Atami which led to mudslides, he explains that Oriental Consultants Group presented a proposal to the local municipality regarding countermeasures and mitigation.

Outside of the group structure, meanwhile, a recent collaboration with Intelligence Design Corporation has allowed Oriental Consultants Group to use object analysis and AI to manage the flow of people on a construction site.

The ability to forge strong domestic partnerships, naturally enough, also feeds into the group’s activities overseas. “When we join an overseas project,” Mr. Nozaki states, “it tends to be a big project, and we often collaborate with overseas consulting firms to provide the optimal solution together.”

He cites the group’s recent collaboration with SoftBank as evidence of its ability to work with both domestic and international companies and enter new fields.

Having already brought its influence to bear in a number of countries seeking to mitigate the effects of natural disasters, Oriental Consultants Group is now focusing on the Asian market in the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Thailand and Vietnam.

“After Asia,” Mr. Nozaki says, “it will probably be Africa. At the same time, South America is an attractive market for us, so we want to enlarge our overseas business slowly but surely by providing bases in new regions.”

Looking further into the future, Oriental Consultants Group is turning its attention to social issues with the launch of its slogan “Establishing and Creating New Social Values”, a move that promises to cement the group’s status as a responsible corporate citizen embracing integrity and promoting openness, honesty and respect for all laws and community standards.

First, however, is the mid-term plan, and, by way of conclusion, Mr. Nozaki is keen to emphasize three of the group’s core strategies. “First there is innovation. We are actively engaging in high-end research and development with regards to the latest technology. Second is digital transformation – introducing DX. And last but not least is investing in our group companies to take on the challenge of tackling social issues.”